Many Australian homeowners must routinely deal with pests that can damage their homes, but some pests are more problematic than others. In parts of Australia, geckos are a relatively common pest problem, renowned for causing damage to air conditioning systems. Find out why geckos love air conditioning systems, and learn more about what you may need to do to deal with the problem.
Geckos you may come across
Australian homeowners may come across several species of gecko, but the two most common varieties found in homes are the Robust Velvet Gecko (native to Australia) and the non-native Asian House Gecko. Geckos will rid the home of unwanted insects, but they can also cause problems. Geckos can make a lot of mess and may ultimately damage your air conditioner.
Why geckos like air conditioning systems
Homeowners in parts of Australia will often come across geckos inside their air conditioning units where the reptiles can build warm, safe nests to reproduce. One of the warmest places these reptiles can find is the circuit board, but this can cause a disaster. The reptile's body can cause a short circuit in the entire system, killing the gecko and your air conditioner.
To make matters worse, manufacturer warranties may not protect you against gecko damage. If a gecko fries your circuit board, you could face a repair bill of hundreds of dollars.
Protecting against geckos
There are steps you can take to stop geckos making a home in your air conditioning unit.
The reptiles don't like the smell of mothballs or lanolin. As such, many air conditioning engineers will treat the interior parts of the system to discourage visiting geckos. By spraying the circuit board with lanolin spray, you may deter unwanted reptiles. Mothballs placed in and around vents may also discourage geckos, particularly if you put the mothballs in outdoor units.
Lanolin and mothballs may deter geckos in your existing system, but homeowners affected by these reptiles may want to consider changes when replacing or installing a new system. For example, geckos like to sit high up on walls where they will most benefit from direct sunlight. As such, placing the outdoor unit nearer the ground may deter geckos, especially as this position makes them more susceptible to ground predators like possums and snakes.
Air conditioning manufacturers now also offer systems that will prevent unwanted gecko access. For example, special cases over the circuit boards can stop pests touching these delicate parts. If the gecko cannot find the warmth of the circuit board, he or she is less likely to cause catastrophic damage.