03 Sep July 2012
Willis Sinclair Homes
“The Lowcountry’s Premier Custom Home Builder”
Are unwanted guests living under your home?
24 Gabriel Road
Lodge, South Carolina 29082
843 846 2500
Is Anyone Checking Your Home Regularly or After Storms?
Within the past few weeks about 40 miles NNE of here (where we live) we have had storms and strong winds on two different occasions.
There was little warning and suddenly we had 60 to 70 mile per hour winds and lightning. While the wind typically will not do any damage to a house, it can and, in our case did, take down large trees. Debris flying 60 or 70 miles per hour will also cause serious damage.
We lost a 12” in diameter hickory tree that was about ten feet from the house. Fortunately it fell away from the house. If it had hit our house or if a tree were to hit your home it would cause serious damage.
Be sure to consider that telephone equipment is one of the more common failures during a lightning storm. If your phone equipment has failed, your alarm system may not call out in case of fire or other emergency. For this reason we verify dial tone on our house checks.
After storms, we make the rounds and check on all of our customer’s homes to make sure there was no damage. We can do that for you also. Just call us and we will add you to our Storm Check List.
As most of you all know, we are discontinuing our home cleaning service. Abbey is also our bookkeeper and since our work is picking up, it is keeping her very busy in addition to her house checking, shuttling and errand running for our home owners.
Thank you very much to all of you who entrusted us with your cleaning needs. If you need help finding a new house cleaner, call Abbey (843 599 2302) and she will help you.
We have discontinued only our house cleaning. We still build homes. We still remodel and build additions. We still do house checks. We still shuttle our customers to and from doctor appointments, airports and other places. Call us. We can help.
From the desk
of Willis Ponds …
For the past few months we have been very busy taking care of damage caused by different home invaders.
In some instances, the invaders were moisture and water. In other instances, it was termites.
Still other damage we have repaired has been caused by rodents.
Here in the Lowcountry, a homeowner needs to maintain a constant vigilance or their home will be invaded.
We can help. Not only do we repair damage caused by these invaders, we can help you defend yourself against them. We will also be happy to check your home and see if you may have some problems lurking. The sooner you correct them, the simpler and less costly it is. If we cannot help, we will do our very best to refer you to an expert who can help. We carefully screen anyone we recommend.
On a personal note our youngest daughter, Kandie, age 9 months, is now mobile! She is crawling everywhere and keeping everyone else on their toes!
President, Willis Sinclair, Inc.
Licensed Residential Contractor
843 846 2500
Last issue, we discussed some unwelcome invaders you may have in your home: water and termites. Both will cause very serious damage in your home if left unchecked. If you would like an issue of our last newsletter, email us and we will mail you a copy. (email@example.com)
This month, the home invaders we want to focus on are larger than the first two invaders. They are rodents. This includes squirrels, rats, mice and armadillos.
At first glance, it might not seem too important if small animals live under your home as long as they cannot enter the living areas. Don’t forget, the hidden areas of your home (where the invaders like to live) are also where your plumbing, wiring, phone, air conditioning ducts and other critical components are often located.
Squirrels are cute, but they can cause real problems if they get in your house or crawlspace.
For some reason, rodents seem to love the plastic coating on Romex (electrical wire). We have seen a number of cases where the insulation has been chewed completely off and exposed power wires were only a fraction of an inch apart.
Rodents love electrical insulation.
If the bare wires had touched, it could be a serious problem. It is true that a circuit breaker should trip if the wires did short, but there are cases when an arc will develop and a breaker will not trip.
Arcs are very hot and can ignite flammable materials that are nearby. Clearly the best solution is to keep rodents away from wiring.
For some reason (maybe because HVAC ducts are cool), rodents also like to pull the insulation off air conditioner ducting. They make nests with the fiberglass and homes on your ducts. Obviously, when the insulation is pulled off your ducts, your air conditioner has to work much harder to cool (or heat) your home.
Do You Have Rodents?
Rodents (mice, rats, squirrels, etc.) do not need a very large opening to enter your house or crawlspace. They may enter through cracks or openings in your foundation walls. They may even enter in cracks in your roofs such as the squirrels did in the photo.
If the access is simply closed, you run the risk of trapping the rodent in your attic or under your home. Typically, under your home is not too big a deal. In the attic, however, trapped animals will often become frantic and chew up everything (wires and plumbing pipes included). Care must be taken to insure the creatures are out before access points are closed.
Under the house, in our experience, it seems best to use ¼” or ½” hardware cloth. This material looks like very heavy, coarse screen wire. It is strong enough that rodents typically cannot chew through it.
This is under a porch roof. The dirty places are a sure sign critters are living in the attic. In this case, it was a squirrel.
Of course, it has to be put everywhere animals may enter. If all potential openings except one are closed, rest assured rodents will find the one opening.
Armadillos are yet another potential home invader. They are very capable diggers and can dig under the skirting of your home if there is nothing there to stop them. The photo on the cover of this newsletter is an armadillo hole under the corner of a lattice panel between the foundation piers.
You can be sure you have an armadillo nearby if you notice pine straw is rooted and piled up.
Armadillos not only destroy your landscaping, but they are also known to carry leprosy.
Keeping armadillos from under your home can be challenging, but should be done. Once an armadillo gains entry then any other rodent or animal his size or smaller will enter through the same hole.
If you need help keeping critters out of your home and crawlspace, call us. We will be happy to visit and analyze your situation. We will also suggest a course of action. Of course, there is no charge to you for our consultation and no obligation on your part.
Willis Sinclair Homes, where ‘Built Right’ is the only ‘good enough’ we understand.
843 846 2500