Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Midnight at the Oasis! Who you gonna call----Rat Busters!

     Everyone that regularly reads my blog knows how much I love to gross everyone out with stories about rats.  Finding them in crawl spaces is as common as finding the bathroom inside the house----as opposed to being an outhouse.  In other words----dang common.

     Perhaps the most common way that these vermin find their way into the crawl space in houses that have concrete foundations is through damaged crawl space vents and through the access door itself.

     Other common ways into the space is through or around pipes that run through the foundation that have not been properly sealed.  Common pipe-related entry points are gravity drains that have not been properly screened and around sewer pipes.  I don’t know exactly how or why rats like to follow the sewer pipes into the crawl space---perhaps it is easier digging.  I don’t even know how they find the sewer pipe to follow it----but they do.

     On a recent house, the main house sewer drain went out of the foundation on one side of the house and there was a second smaller drain that went out the other side of the house.  This type of drainage installation is common in this area and the drains will join together outside the home prior to getting to the city sewer at the street.

Entry to the Oasis

     In this house the rats were using the crawl space as a “Midnight Oasis” as they used the well traveled highway from one drain to the other.  There were very large deposits of dirt at both openings where the rats had mined their way into the crawl space.  On the right side of the picture the condition of the phone wire looks like the rats wanted to make a call----there is always a phone at a rest stop isn’t there? 

     In order to eliminate this pathway some means of blocking their ability to continue to build these tunnels will have to be achieved.  If the hole was merely an oversized hole around a pipe going through concrete, it would simply be a matter of blocking the hole with something harder than the rat’s teeth.  In this case, where the pipes run under the foundation, simply filling the opening will likely only result in the critters digging around the blockage.

     It is time to call the “Rat Busters” to set up a “feeding” station at the Oasis----and perhaps a few rat highway speed traps.

Charles Buell

Seattle Home Inspectors, ASHI Home Inspector, Licensed Home Inspector, Structural Pest Inspector, Charles Buell Inspections Inc, Seattle, WA



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Comment balloon 18 commentsCharles Buell • September 19 2009 10:42PM


I don't believe it. I'm being the first to respond to a Charlie post.  Your comments are very appropriate.  I think that just about every house I inspect has the requisite, unplugged, large hole for the sewer pipe to exit.  So much so that one of my most used "boiler plate" comments is about this subject.  What is so hard about filling the holes with a little hard stuff (at the time of construction!!!)?

Posted by David Helm, Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp (Helm Home Inspections) over 9 years ago

Hey David---they are very common, those holes aren't they.  So how did the inspection go Friday?:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charlie, thankfully rats are one problem we do not have to deal with - yet...

Helping you live your American dream...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charlie, headed to a an inspection soon and home I don't find this.

Posted by Janice Roosevelt, OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker ( Keller Williams Brandywine Valley ) over 9 years ago

Michael, yes but don't you have snakes?

Janice---just bring a broom along with you:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Mr Charles,

Rats can be very nasty. Believe me I know. Sometimes I tell them off and they sass back. At our firm we have a sub-contracting team that takes care of them


Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Nutsy, didn't you use the wrong picture?

Nutsy and the cat

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Rats are just misunderstood. I saw it on animal planet =)
What a great day to be alive!

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) over 9 years ago

Ecco come si dice in italiano ratto: scoiattolo (anonymous)

Posted by Kate Kate over 9 years ago

Paul, it is OK with me if they are misunderstood:)

Kate, are you sure? Charles Noclue Buell

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Ms Kate, questo è molto vero, ed apparentemente lo scoiattolo non lo sa!

Charles, some things are better said discreetly :)

Posted by Shoshana Shay (St. Pete Realty) over 9 years ago

Shoshana, I hope you two know what you are talking about:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Ms. Shoshana, in realtà credo che sa, ma è nella negazione.


Mr. Noclue, Surely you doubt not.

Posted by Kate Kate over 9 years ago

It never ceases to amaze me the number and frequency of avenues that rodents have into our homes!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Charles, there are multiple dimension in the Rain -- you never know where you may end up! :)

Ms Kate, disegnerei un'immagine con un grande X per la negazione, eccetto poi capirebbe... le immagini non hanno lingua anche per scoiattoli (o "ratti")! :)

Posted by Shoshana Shay (St. Pete Realty) over 9 years ago

Ms Shoshana, Tu sei un amico davvero! Ecco il più grande X per lo scoiattolo / ratti che io sono in grado di produrre a Pioggia Active.

X heheh


Posted by Kate Kate over 9 years ago

Kate, you and Shoshana are having your own little party here aren't you:)

Russell, ANY hole will do----as big as a quarter and they are in there.

Shoshana---most of the time I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone.


Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charles, and the absence of pizza pie squirrel is so refreshing. But you know James and you are always welcome to il nostro partito stile italiano.

Posted by Kate Kate over 9 years ago