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Your Plumber Is an Ally In Pest Control | Arlington, TX

Your Plumber Is an Ally In Pest Control | Arlington, TX

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Most home and property owners in Arlington, TX, automatically associate plumbers with leaky faucets, damaged pipes, clogged drains, and problems with dishwashers and related appliances. Plumbing is not always associated with pest problems, but sometimes homeowners dealing with indoor pests should call a plumber instead of an exterminator.

Water and Wood

Unfortunately, keeping a clean home isn’t always enough to avoid a pest infestation. Insects and other pests can exist and thrive in any location with food, water, and shelter. A typical residential plumbing system provides all three requirements. The causal relationship between plumbing and pests goes both ways. Plumbing problems can attract pests, and some pests cause problems for plumbers to fix.

Standing Water

Leaky pipes and fixtures provide a water source for unwanted insects and animals. Standing water inside the home is a breeding ground for certain insects, especially mosquitoes. Mosquitoes sometimes carry pathogens that cause serious illness, so the last thing any homeowner wants is a mosquito nursery in the house. Eliminating standing water around your home is important too. Mosquitoes, gnats, and other insects will take full advantage of any puddles of stagnant water. Locating the source of standing water is the first step. Have a plumber check hoses and outdoor fixtures for leaks. If you can’t find a leak or any other source of water, the problem may be underground. Broken or cracked sewer lines release water into the ground and puddles on the surface form after soil is saturated. A foul odor is a very recognizable sign of a compromised sewer main. Exceptionally green or lush vegetation also points to a sewer line problem. The vibrant patches of vegetation are getting more nutrients than the rest of the yard.

Saturated Wood

Termites and other pests that eat wood prefer moist wood. Moisture softens wood, serves as a readily available source of water, and encourages rot. Small, easily missed plumbing problems are actually the biggest concern when it comes to termites and similar insects. A home or building’s occupants notice torrents of water from burst pipes or malfunctioning appliances. A slow, steady drip from a leaky pipe, especially pipes inside walls or below the foundation, may not be noticed immediately. Hidden leaks eventually saturate the wood, insulation, or other materials in the surrounding area. This creates a dark, moist environment that acts as an invitation to wood-eating insects. Carpenter ants are known for burrowing through wood and building nests within wooden structures, and termite colonies expand at a phenomenal rate under ideal conditions. Insect infestations accelerate deterioration of structures surrounding the original leak. You will want to call a plumber for professional advice.

Compromised Structure

Leaks in plumbing infrastructure near an exterior wall, under floors, or in a building’s foundation provide an easy point of entry for rodents, snakes, and other small animals. Constant moisture weakens wood and other building materials. Rodents can easily chew through weakened areas. Call a plumber immediately if a hidden leak is found and check crawlspaces and other secluded spaces for signs of animal activity.

Mice and Rats

Rodents sometimes cause or exacerbate plumbing problems by chewing through plastic pipes and seals around fixtures. Once rodents make it into a home, very few spaces are off limits. Rats and mice are small and agile. They easily reach places that a home’s human occupants can only access with difficulty. Rodents defecate and urinate inside walls, crawlspaces, attics, and basements.

Problems caused by a rodent infestation can escalate quickly as the animals chew through electrical wiring, plumbing infrastructure, insulation, walls and other structures. Mice and rats are even known to chew through fiberglass and foam insulation, even though it eventually kills them. Old or worn out pipes are especially vulnerable. Rodent damage can result in a substantial amount of water flooding into the home if pipes were already in poor condition. Your plumber can offer advice on replacing worn out plumbing as well.

Homeowners sometimes notice rats, mice, and other nuisance animals without observing any plumbing issues. Consider calling a plumber after any pest control problem to catch small problems early. A professional plumber knows where to look for potential damage and possesses the correct tools to evaluate inaccessible spaces.

Clogged Pipes and Drains

Clogged drains cause a multitude of undesirable circumstances. A clog, or numerous clogs, can leave lengths of pipe dry or slightly damp. Unimpeded water flow usually keeps pipes free of debris and prevents insect nesting behavior or egg laying. Clogs can block water flow entirely or reduce it to a small trickle. Damp or dry pipes give insects, such as flies and cockroaches, an opportunity to lay eggs. Insect numbers multiply fast under favorable conditions. An increased insect population carries the risk of an increased spider population, and many of us put ‘spider infestation’ at the top of the ‘things we never want’ list.

Dry pipes can also offer a safe route for insects and small rodents to move from one place to another within the home. Some clogs, usually in the toilet, can be addressed with a plunger, but serious clogs that aren’t visible probably require a plumber.

Cracked Flooring

Tile and grout is often used in rooms with potential for leaks and uncontrolled water, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. This type of flooring is also subject to mopping on a regular basis. Water can seep into broken, cracked tile and grout. Moisture in the cracked flooring doesn’t evaporate easily and often goes completely unnoticed. Mold and fungus thrive in the dark, moist environment and provide a food source for beetles and other insects.

Humidity and Condensation

Moisture doesn’t always come from a leak. Arlington, TX, experiences high humidity, especially in spring and summer. Warm, moisture-laden air comes into contact with cooler surfaces of pipes and plumbing fixtures and causes ‘sweating,’ or condensation. Heavy condensation collects along surfaces and drips to the ground or floor.

Pipes located underneath sinks and within cabinets or other enclosed spaces are especially vulnerable to sweating, and moisture within dark, hidden spaces attracts insects. Insulation can reduce sweating in some cases. Talk to your local plumber about condensation and possible solutions to prevent moisture buildup.

Sewer Lines

Rodents, insects, and even snakes can enter homes and buildings through compromised sewer lines. Sewer lines are vulnerable to damage from rocks and grit in soil, tree roots, and contact with water and corrosive substances. Cast iron pipes were very common through the 1960s and early 1970s, and many communities still have old iron sewer lines.

Insects, rodents and other pests coming out of drains may be a sign of a broken or damaged sewer pipe, especially if a foul odor or backed up drains occur as well. Repairing or replacing sewer mains is definitely a job for professional plumbers.

Minimize Risk of Infestation

Although ‘pest-proof’ homes aren’t possible, there are ways to minimize the risk of a pest infestation. Remove or relocate any bushes, shrubs, or trees growing next to the house. Examine crawl spaces in and under the home and block every hole and entry point. Clean up clutter and don’t let tools, outdoor furniture, or other items lean against a house or garage. Follow a routine maintenance schedule to keep gutters clear and in good repair. Clogged or overflowing gutters create breeding ground for insects and let water drip along exterior walls or build up around the house.

Fix Leaks Quickly

Addressing plumbing problems early is vital to prevent pest infestations. A significant portion of plumbing infrastructure isn’t easily observed in most homes because pipes are located under floors, within walls, and under or within foundations. A telltale sign of a hidden leak is a sudden increase in the water bill, although homes with well water don’t have water bills. Some leaks start out with such a small loss of water that increased cost may not be immediately noticeable, so water bills are just one of many indicators to observe. Consult a plumber if you can’t find the problem if you do notice an increased water bill.

Keep an eye on common leak locations. Watch for rust around fixtures, drains, and control valves. Dripping taps and faucets are often caused by worn out washers. Consider hiring a plumber to replace faucets and fixtures that are more than 10 to 15 years old. Water often collects under large appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers. Moisture also collects under sink traps and garbage disposals. Plumbing pipes are often concentrated in basements, which are frequently damp and dark. Leaks in the basement tend to go unnoticed. Most people don’t spend a lot of time in the basement, and it isn’t always clear where water is coming from in a consistently damp environment. Moisture gathering in one spot is probably the result of a leak instead of general humidity. Water stains on the basement ceiling can also indicate a leak. Call an Arlington, TX plumber if you suspect a basement leak. Pests attracted to the moist, dark, and warm conditions in your basement can easily find a way into the house itself.

Sink Traps and Garbage Disposals 

Cockroaches are a common, and very problematic, insect known to utilize sink traps. Sink traps provide food, moisture, warmth, and a dark location, so they are perfect for cockroaches. Once a roach infestation is underway, the roaches themselves cause more plumbing problems by clogging drains, blocking pipes, and destroying insulation. Roaches are resistant to many pesticides and reproduce at exponential rates. These insects are notoriously hard to get rid of. Preventing a roach infestation is easier than eradicating an established colony. Plumbing issues related to garbage disposals can quickly get out of hand. Old food sticking to the inside of the disposal or caught in traps and pipes is an insect’s equivalent of a welcome sign in flashing red lights. Flies, cockroaches, ants, and gnats reproduce so fast that they can lay and hatch eggs in less than a week. Ants may not have the same reputation as cockroaches, but ant colonies aren’t easy to evict either. Most ants are harmless, but some species can bite or sting. Maggots and other insect larvae can clog pipes or make existing clogs worse, but that isn’t the most upsetting aspect of an infestation. Many people really, really don’t want to find maggots crawling around their kitchens or any other part of their homes. Adult insects can also carry harmful bacteria and spread it to any surface they touch. 

Close Points of Entry 

Pipes frequently enter the home through holes in the walls. Gaps may be present at the time of installation or develop over time. Even tiny gaps between the pipe’s surface and the wall can let insects enter your home. Mice can travel through a hole no bigger than a nickel. Seal gaps around pipes to eliminate entry points for pests and improve your home’s overall energy efficiency. Your plumber can help with pest prevention in many ways. Old food, toilet paper, waste, and other substances can build up in drains. These substances host thriving bacterial or fungal colonies and provide an excellent food source for flies and other insects. Have your drains cleaned regularly to remove debris and improve water flow. Drain pipes can also act as a pest superhighway taking them right into your home. People have reported everything from snakes to rats as unwelcome visitors sneaking in through drain pipes. Block incursions from drain pipes by consulting a plumber to instal a multi-flap in your toilet.Many homes have a vent stack on the roof to ventilate sewer gas. Unfortunately, a vent stack also provides a point of entry for pests. Install a screen in the vent stack to block this entry point and reduce clogs on the outer vents.

Contact the professional plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Arlington, TX, to address any existing plumbing problems and help you defend your home from pests.