By Mary Beth Breckenridge
Tips for keeping wildlife out of your home:
—Clean your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool and create ice dams, rotting fascia boards and roof sheathing and making it easy for squirrels to gnaw through the softened wood.
—Repair moisture problems, such as leaking pipes and clogged drains.
—Seal holes, cracks and other small openings on the outside of the house and basement. Include the places where pipes and wires enter the house and spaces between the siding and the chimney.
—Replace loose mortar and weatherstripping.
—Install door sweeps, including under the garage door.
—Cap your chimney.
—Don’t feed wild animals. It attracts them to your home.
—Bring pet food dishes indoors at night.
—Use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, and avoid keeping them outside as much as possible.
—Trim tree branches to keep them away from the house. Squirrels can jump up to 8 feet laterally and as far as 10 feet from a high spot to a place below.
—Cover vents with grills or rust-resistant screening, if appropriate. Ohio law prohibits screening clothes dryer vents.
—Keep areas beneath wooden steps clean.
—Keep window screens in good repair.
—Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house.
—Keep shrubbery well-trimmed.