Winter is the season for firing up your home heater and relaxing indoors, safely buffered from the cold winds blowing outside. Unfortunately, a comfortable indoor environment for you can also mean an attractive home for less desirable residents from the animal kingdom. Namely, a toasty home can be a prime breeding area for fleas, particularly in households that have cats or dogs. Read on for some tips on preventing your home from becoming a wintertime flea playground.

Your Heat and Air Conditioning Betrays You

Fleas thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity. That means that people's homes, especially in more humid parts of the country, can be the perfect place for the annoying pests to escape the winter. As long as a home is between 70 and 86 degrees (and pity the fuel bills for any homeowner who keeps the thermostat up that high), fleas will thrive. In fact, the warmer the temperature is, the faster they reproduce -- in as little as three weeks at 84 degrees!

Try these steps to stop fleas from getting a foothold in your home:

  • Stop the fleas before they start: Treat your pets with safe anti-flea medications and products so they don't bring the pesky bugs into the house to begin with. After all, the easiest way to clean up a flea problem is to not create one in the first place.
  • Keep your carpets clean -- or throw them out: Fleas love to hide in soft upholstery like rugs and furniture. If your pets are hanging out on the couch or rolling around on the carpet, make sure you clean them regularly with detergent to prevent infestations.
  • Don't bring the dog into bed: The same logic with carpets and couches applies to your bed. If your dog picks up fleas and then snuggles into the blankets with you, that means you will soon be covered in itchy bites yourself.
  • Turn the thermostat down: Fleas don't thrive as well at temperatures below 70 degrees, so if you keep your thermostat at a lower level, you will have fewer insect-related worries this winter.
  • Invest in a smart thermostat: Some people insist on keeping the temperature at 70 degrees or higher, but there is another solution for them. With a smart thermostat like the Nest, you can keep your home at whatever temperature you want while you're home, but have the heat and air conditioning system automatically adjust to a lower temperature when you leave, making it more difficult for fleas to advance through their life-cycle.

Let the Experts Take Care of Your Heat and Air Conditioning

If you need any service on your heat and air conditioning system, contact a qualified HVAC technician today.