While many people consider toilet and pipe-dwelling creatures to be urban myth, the truth is animals have been known to find their way into homes through the plumbing. Frogs, rats, snakes have been found in toilets, sinks and tanks. Small cats and dogs are also at risk for piping escapades around exposed drainpipes, sump pumps and other larger plumbing openings.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect wildlife, your home – and your bottom- from piping perils.
Some animals can find their way into your house on the piping, rather than inside. Exit holes for a dwelling's plumbing in or near the home's foundation can be entries for a variety of creatures.
Placing insulation in and around these openings is a good way to prevent wildlife from making its way in. It is important to use a more flexible and semi-permanent filler, such as spray foam, in order prevent added problems if you need plumbing work performed later. When in doubt, contact your plumber for recommendations on dealing with potential gaps around piping.
Screen Vent Stacks
Most standard homes have stink pipes, also known as vent stacks, running parallel to the waste stack to release gases. These stacks connect to the drainage system but are often dry – providing entrance for small animals. Most wildlife, other than rats, find their way into your plumbing through these openings.
Placing some wide wire mesh over the opening of these pipes can save some small animal from a real shock. Using a cloth or screen, rather than 0.25 – 0.5 inch wire mesh, can lead to clogs and blockage.
Hide Exposed Pipes and Drains
Keeping pipes and drains covered can minimize animal accidents. Pets love to chew and hide and exposed pipes can look like the perfect plaything. Furniture, tables or drain covers can be positioned to keep dangerous areas blocked or out of site. Outside drainage areas should be properly screened, where possible.
It is also good to monitor for inside and outside plumbing for burrows or other suspicious activity as rats and mice are attracted to sewage and are capable of chewing through plastic pipes and electrical wires. Your plumber can assist by scoping your drains and helping you look for possible entry points.
Following these three steps can significantly decrease hazards for pets and wildlife both in and outside the home, as well as damage to you...or your plumbing system.