Having mice or rats in your house can cause a whole host of problems, from health concerns to spoiled food. However, one of the most concerning problems is not the droppings or the now-useless bags of crackers or cereal, but the damage mice can inflict on the electrical wiring in your house. If you are had rodent damage, or if you have a persistent problem with mice in your house, you need to take preventative steps to protect your electrical system from damage, as well as repair damage that may have already occurred.
Why is damage to wires so dangerous?
Mice and rats can chew on the insulation coating of your household wires, exposing the conductive core. Wires in homes are often bundled together, running through the walls in neat sections. When the wires are exposed, the heat from the conduction can melt the coatings on other wires or heat up surrounding wood in the wall frame. Electrical fires and frequent power surges are some of the consequences of rodent wire damage.
What are the preventative measures you can take?
You might not think that you have the money to fully mouse-proof your house, but losing your home to an electrical fire is more costly, especially in things like photographs and antiques that cannot be replaced. Here are some ways that you can prevent rodent damage:
- Seal the cracks surrounding doors and windows.
- Replace old fiberglass insulation with newer, foam insulation. Older types of insulation make ideal nesting grounds for mice. Foam insulation is more effective at keeping your house warm, but it is also not friendly for mouse housing.
- Have your basement waterproofed and sealed. If you have an exposed brick foundation, consider going over it with a layer of concrete on the inside of the home to seal off cracks between bricks.
- Prevent burrowing and feeding on weed surrounding the foundation by installing wire mesh vertically in the ground to keep mice from entering crawlspaces and basements. Use rocks instead of grass next to your exterior walls, and make sure all basement window boxes are leaf and weed free.
- Seal off old electrical outlets that are no longer being used, and make sure all outlets have their faceplates installed, as mice can enter the walls through electrical boxes.
- Place bait and traps in the space underneath or behind the fridge. Mice frequent the kitchen often for snacks, and the wires of your kitchen appliances can become casualties.
How can rodent damage be fixed
Even if you are an avid DIYer, if you suspect rodent damage to your wires, it's best to call an electrician to take a closer look. If you are having electrical problems and you know you also have a mouse problem, you might assume that any power outages or problems with your circuit breaker are because of these pests. However, a diagnostic test still needs to be run, because rats and mice are not the the only things that can cause electrical malfunction in a home. You might start cutting open walls and replacing chewed wires without ever getting to the bottom of the real issue, which could be something other than mouse trouble.
Also, when wires are damaged, replacing them is a precision job. Since poorly connected wires are a fire hazard, simply cutting out the damaged portion is usually not the best idea. To be completely safe, the entire wire should be removed and replaced. To keep your home up to code, leave this job to a pro.
For more information about how mice and rats can affect the electrical systems in your home, talk to an electrician in your area. Contact a company like PRO-FX Services Inc in Calgary for more information.