My Home Inspector Blog: Carlsbad Home Inspector Battles Rats!

Carlsbad Home Inspector Battles Rats!

Carlsbad Home Inspector Battles Rats!


It's Springtime! Steve Stenros, owner of First Choice Inspections and a CREIA-certified MCI inspector, leaves his office every morning prepared for battle. His adversary? Rodents. San Diego county is home to the wood rat. Rats carry diseases and can be a health hazard if they enter your home. They can also chew your electrical wiring creating a fire hazard.


If you have any brush within a few thousand yards of your home, you have probably had your own battle with these creatures. Steve regularly enters attic areas and crawlspaces as part of his home inspection process, and he does not enjoy coming into contact with these critters. "I once had a foot-long rat climb down an exhaust fan duct and enter the attic five feet from me!", said Steve. His home inspection report always point out the importance of keeping the vegetation around a home trimmed and neat.



Take a walk around your house.  Are there tree limbs hanging over the roof?  Is there shrubbery growing up against the exterior walls?  Have vines or other vegetation grown into the roof eaves or obscured the gas meter, water shut-off, or electrical panel?

Vegetation growing too close to your home is an invitation for rodents and termites to enter.  "A rat only needs an opening the size of a quarter to get in, a mouse needs only a dime-sized hole, and termites can enter from anywhere, but there is no need to give them a ladder!", said the Carlsbad home inspector.

Cut tree limbs back so they are at least three feet from the edge of the roof.  Rats are jumpers!  Tree limbs can also damage the roofing material as they sway back and forth in the wind.  Examine the roof eaves and siding for any large or small holes.  These openings should be patched or plugged to prevent rodents from entering.  Any shrubs growing against the house should be trimmed so they have six inches of clearance when possible.  Vines or other vegetation growing into the eaves can cause structural damage and should be cut back.


Maintain proper clearances in front of the electrical service panel, gas meter, and water shut-off.  The minimum working space and clearance in front of an electrical panel should be 30" wide by 36" deep by 6 1/2' high. There should be no shrubbery growing in this space.  The gas meter and water shut-off should be accessible in case of emergency.


Steve Stenros can be reached for appointment at 888-335-3040. As a client of First Choice Inspections, you can ask to be placed on our email list and receive our bi-weekly "Tech Tips"- simple do-it-yourself tips to beautify your home and make it more efficient. A FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek is provided with every standard home inspection.



             Steve Stenros, MCI         Biz card photo

             Master CREIA Inspector #0115

             ICC Residential Combination Inspector #5251439

             Certified Infrared Thermographer #7791

                                       FHA/HUD Inspector- #V975

                                       203k Consultant #S0611



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Comment balloon 7 commentsSteve Stenros • May 14 2011 09:51AM


Rats! Nasty! Great tips! I'm going to go trim some vines off the house in the morning!  Ick! ick! ick!

Posted by Allen 2222 over 9 years ago

Mice and rats. Oh my. Still better than finding a live family of rattlesnakes living under your house.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) over 9 years ago

I would never go into another attic if I saw a foot long rat!       That would have been frightening!     One of my inspections last year had dead skunks in the window wells, that seemed awful, but it was the Country.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 9 years ago

LOL, Alison!  Good idea.  I'm sure you have plenty of them in Austin, also!


Jon:  Wow!  Did this happen to you?


Joan:  I actually like skunk essence.  It clears my sinuses!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 9 years ago

Can't you just buy a few cats and a snake and turn them loose in the house?

Posted by Steve Hall, Make the Call to Hankins and Hall (RE/MAX United) over 9 years ago

That would work, Steve!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 9 years ago
Steve, I just sold a house that had rats in the attic and they had been living there for over a year as the house had been vacant. I called in Wild Life management and they were great! Now rodent free with a certification. I would not want your job but I sure do appreciate the hard work you do.
Posted by Rhonda Lehnen, Ormond By The Sea Florida (Ocean View Realty Group, sale and rental of homes and condos) over 9 years ago