Insurance and Finance

Prevent Termite Damage to Your Home

By Eric Butterman 1.16.13

According to a leading extermination company’s website, one in every 30 homes per year will get termites, at a cost of more than $8,000 to the homeowner. So each passing year should leave you wondering if this is when your luck runs out. One way to improve the odds that this won’t be your year is to schedule a regular inspection from a pest control expert, who can also keep a lookout for carpenter ants or potential rodent problems that could become an issue.

But how do you find the infestation early or stop it from happening at all? Alex Cantaboni, owner of Plano-based Safe Pro, says you can be prepared for the possibility by considering the age of your home and how conducive it is to the little critters. “It happens [more often] on a house between 8 and 15 years old,” he says. “Other things to look for is if the soil is above grade — where the concrete foundation touches the brick. Also things like leaf clutters and woodpiles on the side of the house are a major attraction for them.”

One way you can tell if you have termites is by looking for mud tubes against the house. “This is how they survive and protect themselves from the air,” Cantaboni explains, adding that nail holes that have punctured sheetrock are another indicator.

He says you are less likely to see tubes on the inside of your home, but the termites will be going through your plumbing. “You won’t know until you see the damage,” he says. “Sometimes we open up a wall and it’s hardly anything, sometimes it’s destruction.”

Cantaboni warns not to put off dealing with the problem once it starts because a one-floor infestation can quickly hit the second level. As far as whether to take preventative measures, he says to consider how long you’ll be staying. “If you’re going to be in your house 20 years, there’s a good chance you’ll have a termite problem at some point,” he says. So having a regular inspection is probably a good idea.

Finally, remember that termites aren’t typically covered in a homeowner’s policy — so this is one expense that can be quite costly!