Everyone that regularly reads my blog knows how much I love to gross everyone out with stories about rats. Finding them in crawl spaces is as common as finding the bathroom inside the house—-as opposed to being an outhouse. In other words—-dang common.
Perhaps the most common way that these vermin find their way into the crawl space in houses that have concrete foundations is through damaged crawl space vents and through the access door itself.
Other common ways into the space is through or around pipes that run through the foundation that have not been properly sealed. Common pipe-related entry points are gravity drains that have not been properly screened and around sewer pipes. I don’t know exactly how or why rats like to follow the sewer pipes into the crawl space—perhaps it is easier digging. I don’t even know how they find the sewer pipe to follow it—-but they do.
On a recent house, the main house sewer drain went out of the foundation on one side of the house and there was a second smaller drain that went out the other side of the house. This type of drainage installation is common in this area and the drains will join together outside the home prior to getting to the city sewer at the street.
In this house the rats were using the crawl space as a “Midnight Oasis” as they used the well traveled highway from one drain to the other. There were very large deposits of dirt at both openings where the rats had mined their way into the crawl space. On the right side of the picture the condition of the phone wire looks like the rats wanted to make a call—-there is always a phone at a rest stop isn’t there?
In order to eliminate this pathway some means of blocking their ability to continue to build these tunnels will have to be achieved. If the hole was merely an oversized hole around a pipe going through concrete, it would simply be a matter of blocking the hole with something harder than the rat’s teeth. In this case, where the pipes run under the foundation, simply filling the opening will likely only result in the critters digging around the blockage.
It is time to call the “Rat Busters” to set up a “feeding” station at the Oasis—-and perhaps a few rat highway speed traps.
Seattle Home Inspectors, ASHI Home Inspector, Licensed Home Inspector, Structural Pest Inspector, Charles Buell Inspections Inc, Seattle, WA
PS, for those of you that are new to my blog (or for some other “unexplained” reason have never noticed)all pictures and smiley-face inserts (emoticons) (when I use them) have messages that show up when you point at them with your cursor.