Pests in your HVAC system present an annoyance, but if you frequently find them there despite your best attempts to remove them, this is usually indicative of a larger problem, or an issue you may be missing. Recurring pest problems don't necessarily mean you have an infestation that requires drastic measures to remove, but it should be taken care of quickly. Here are a few ways you can start.

Inspect Your Ductwork And Nearby Areas

There's plenty of ductwork that carries cool air throughout your house, and unfortunately this presents many locations for pests to enter. Mice and rats don't need large openings to enter ducts, so even a small crack or loose joint will sometimes be all it takes.

While you can hire a professional, you can also start with a basic inspection yourself, looking for anything obvious that might stand out. Don't just look at the ductwork itself; look at any areas nearby for waste or signs of nests that might indicate pests taking up residence nearby. There are several methods you can use to help you find leaks, like using a smoke machine or by sealing air registers and returns. If nothing is immediately apparent, consider hiring a professional to take a more detailed look and run some tests to check for leaks. It could be that, rather than a large infestation of rodents, you simply have a convenient entry point that's frequently taken advantage of (and which can lead to higher cooling bills at the same time).

You can also make sure that all vents inside your home are protected as well. Place mesh across your vents, and check to make sure your air filter in the intake vent fits snugly and doesn't allow any creatures to pass, especially if it's located near the ground.

Protect and Clean Your Outdoor Unit

An outdoor HVAC unit, especially during periods of inactivity, can be a tempting home for some creatures. These creatures often like to nibble or make nests, which can cause issues from foul odors to a broken unit.

Inspect the area around your outdoor unit to look for signs of nesting creatures. If you don't often inspect your fins, make sure none have been broken or damaged, allowing larger creatures inside. Any exposed wiring, such as electric cables or coolant lines, can be protected with pest-proof covers or heat shrink tubing, and you can protect the unit itself by using vertical grilles -- which prevent creatures from getting a good foothold -- or even a custom mesh fitting.

Finally, make sure everything near your outdoor unit is clean, dry, and free of vegetation or nearby debris. A lack of hiding places will make pests feel less welcome.

Call A Pest Control Specialist

If the problems continue despite your best efforts to seal off your HVAC system, call a pest control specialist like JD Termite & Pest Control Company to help you root out the problem. Many specialists offer free or low-cost inspections, so don't wait too long in hopes the problem will go away on its own.