Take a look at the following picture.
Can you see why as soon as I saw this crawl space vent I knew I was in for ONE HECK OF A NASTY ADVENTURE in the crawl space? Well take a little closer look.
The “high-lighted” areas are rodent body-grease marks from YEARS of coming and going through this hole in the vent screen made by the installer of the gas pipe. The gas pipe was installed when the furnace was converted to gas 18 years ago (based on the age of the furnace), so the damage found in this crawl space is likely what can happen if you allow rats to have free access to your home for 18 years.
I think the Licensed Contractor that installed this gas pipe should be required to come back and clean the crawl space.
I see lots of evidence of rats in homes—-and I am no prude when it comes to inspecting nasty crawl spaces. Lets take a little crawl together through the space and I will show you what it looks like. This was one of the worst rodent infestations I have come across. The furnace was located in the crawl space and there was so much rodent feces on the plastic ground cover in front of the furnace that I had to roll back the plastic to get to the furnace without kneeling in all the feces and urine. Because the furnace had been installed right on the ground the rats had free and easy access to the furnace openings and there was feces and urine inside the furnace compartment as well as on top of the furnace. They had found their way through the poorly fitting filter opening into the heating system ductwork as well—-thus making a mess of both the inside of the ductwork and the outside of the ductwork.
This next picture shows the extent of the feces on top of the furnace. Much of the plastic ground cover throughout the crawl space looked like this.
If you can “over-look” (look past) the feces on the top of the furnace you will notice the missing insulation on the ductwork in a couple of locations. This is where the rodents have stolen the insulation and carted it away to make nests under the ground cover at many locations. These domed shaped configurations feel like little pillows when you push down on them. The rats probably think the sky is falling.
As I crawled through the space, I could feel the ground and its maze of tunnels under the plastic, collapse under my weight.
This next picture is of the long vent to the furnace.
Can you see the little rodent highway on the top of the pipe? Again, one can see where they have pilfered all the insulation off the ductwork for their nests. Can’t you just picture them standing on their little hind legs tearing at the insulation with their cute little fore-paws?
In this next picture one can see where the critters have been sharpening their teeth on the edges of the box to the point of going right through the corner. Notice where they have gnawed the wiring as well, exposing some of the copper on the hot conductor. Makes my saliva tingle just thinking about it, doesn’t it yours?
One of the most obvious signs of a very long standing rodent infestation (besides the feces—-that can be cleaned up) is the presence of “body grease” on the surfaces they traverse frequently. They love to use wiring and plumbing as their highways through a crawl space. I like to imagine them negotiating these pipes. They actually have to be pretty darn good at it to not be falling off the pipes all the time. Take a look at this long run of pipe. Can you see their obvious trail to this pipe and along this pipe?
This next picture shows their body grease “high-lighted.”
I hope you have enjoyed this little journey through a crawl space—-next time I will make sure you have a dust mask and some coveralls. I realize you said you didn’t need one—after all—how bad can it really be?
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to get notices of new posts to my blog, please subscribe via email in the little box to the right. I promise NO spamming of your email