Are rodents wreaking havoc on your wiring? Find out why and how to fix the issue.

A common question we get from our clients here in the Lake Almanor and Susanville areas is, “What can I do to prevent rodents from chewing through my home’s electrical wiring?”.   Often, they experience a rodent related electrical outage of some sort due to the fact that the area that they live in is infested with field mice or other critters  like squirrels who would rather live inside of your warm and cozy home than out in the cold.

  1. It’s common to assume that the wires must have been “chewed through” but this is rarely the case. It’s time to set the record straight!  I’ll examine some of the risks that these pesky critters can create and a few easy solutions to keep them out in the wild where they belong.
  2. Mice are not attracted to the wiring in your home due to the plastic material which encases them. For some, this is hard to believe. For the record, mice, most of the time are simply attempting to get from point “A” to point “B”. The travel through your walls through whatever means necessary. This means through the holes that the wires have been directed through. Sometimes they must chew to make the path a larger one and therefore, your wires may become collateral damage.
  3. Due to mice chewing through wires, sparks may ignite a fire. No. That is not how it works. If the mouse chews through a single electrical conductor, two things could happen. Either the mouse will be electrocuted and die and now the smell is the problem, or the conductor will be chewed in half and now you are without power on that particular circuit.
  4. Mice can get into your electrical main panel and shut down your whole system. Yes, and No. This goes back to my previous point about a mouse chewing through a single conductor. If your entire system were to shut down due to a mouse, it would have to be between the two main conductors. If you, the homeowner, has ever looked inside your electrical panel at the main conductors, you would know that there is simply no way a mouse could fit both conductors into their mouth simultaneously. If they can, it’s a mouse that was living in the sewers with the ninja turtles. Therefore, I’m thinking, no. Yet, if the mouse or small rodent were to touch the exposed lugs between the two circuits, it could cause the system to fail, yet is very uncommon.
  5. Mice like the warmth of the wires and nest in electrical boxes in attics. Yes. if there are no covers on electrical boxes in attics and in basements, mice may collect insulation and nest in these locations. But, then again, the potential of exposed wiring and the rodents touching two separate circuits at once is the issue.

How do I prevent rodents from tampering with my electrical system?

Now that we have dispelled some of the myths about mice and other rodents and your electrical system, what should you do to ensure you are not a victim of a potential hazardous situation?

Seal all potential points of entry into your home.

Remember, a mouse can squeeze through and opening roughly ¼” thick.  There are professional rodent abatement contractors who specialize in the type of work and we highly recommend using their services.  

Hiring a Licensed Electrician

Have a qualified electrician go into your attic and basement / crawl space, and ensure that all of the electrical boxes have covers on them and all of the knockouts on the boxes are sealed.

Check the electrical panel

Ensure that all possible entry points to your home’s electrical panel are sealed off. The electrical industry makes “knockout fillers” that should snap right into any holes in your panel that were, most likely, a factory created knockout. This will also keep other pests, like wasps, from creating a home base just waiting to harass you later.

Use Steel Wool to block holes in your wall

If you have experienced a mouse chewing through a wire in your walls and you have the wall exposed to make repairs, place steel wool into any holes that wires travel through. This makes for a very uncomfortable feeling on the teeth of these little creatures when they attempt to chew through.

Rewire problem areas that have been chewed through.

And lastly, if you are one of the rare situations where you continue to have issues with rodents tampering with your home’s wiring, you could hire a qualified electrician to come to you home and rewire any problem areas  in conduit or metal clad cable. Yes. This is extremely expensive but at the end of the day, you win, they lose.

When is it time to hire a licensed electrical contractor?

If the basic tips about don’t work and you continue to have issues with rodents chewing on wiring, then it might be time to hire a professional like Slusher Plumbing Heating Cooling Electric. We are a licensed and certified Electrician that proudly serves the Chester, Susanville, and Quincy areas.

  • Common electrical services we offer in Chester, Susanville, and Quincy areas:
  • Electrical Troubleshooting and Repair
  • Ensuring Code Requirements
  • Through-the-wall Wire Tracing
  • Load Calculations
  • GFI / GFCI Receptacles
  • Arc Fault / AFCI Circuits
  • Service Panel Upgrade
  • Room Remodels & Upgrades
  • Short Circuits and Flickering Lights
  • Blown Fuses and Broken Outlets
  • Defective Lights, Damaged Splices
  • Complex Fixture Installations
  • Lighting maintenance
  • Electric panel upgrade
  • Landscape lighting
  • Christmas light outlets & installation
  • Fixture installation
  • Switch & outlet repairs
  • Electric water heaters
  • Electric wall & basement heaters
  • Roof & gutter snow & ice melt
  • Home automation
  • Home theater systems
  • Security
  • Over and under cabinet lighting
  • recessed and track lighting installation
  • Spa hookups