Rodent Damage Costs Thousands, Can Spark Home Fires

February 28, 2023

One often overlooked homeowner's risk is rodents chewing on the wiring in your attic or crawlspaces, a problem that can lead to extensive damage and even home fires.

Mice, rats and squirrels can damage more than just your wiring. They can also eat away at your home's beams and foundation as they engage in their main hobby; chewing stuff to file down their teeth, which grow nonstop.

That chewing can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and worse yet: your homeowner's insurance won't cover the needed repairs.

With that in mind, it's important that you take steps to protect your home from rodents and learn how to detect their presence in areas such as attics, walls and underneath the house.


The Destruction

Behind walls and in your attic, rodents can chew the protective covering on wires, exposing the bare metal surfaces. Bare wires and wires that are bundled together can become extremely hot when exposed, inflaming insulation and wood framing.

Mice and rats will also chew on the protective covering on grounding and power-supply wires. They may also chew on electrical cords attached to appliances and other devices, which can increase the chances of fire.

Another reason to stay on top of rodents penetrating your home: rats and mice multiply rapidly.

One mouse can give birth to as many as 14 pups. They can have four litters a year, or an average of 56 new mice. Worse yet, a female mouse can give birth at the age of just six weeks and produce as many as 10 litters in her first year.


Protect Your Home

The problem of rodents in the home peaks in the winter as these critters seek refuge from the elements.

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your home from rodents, and it all starts with keeping them from entering your house in the first place. Keep in mind that that mice can fit into spaces only 1/4-inch wide and tall, while rats can squeeze into 1/2-inch-diameter openings.

You'll want to do a full exterior inspection of your home in the fall each year:

  • Trim tree limbs away from the roofline.
  • Make sure to cover chimney caps, attic vents and exhaust fan openings.
  • Remove potential sources of food and water from your yard, such as bird baths and feeders.
  • Correct any gaps under entry and garage doors by installing door sweeps.
  • Correct gaps and between framing and foundation or roof.
  • Repair any cracks between bricks.
  • Repair openings in weather stripping.
  • Remove sources of pooling water that mice and other rodents like to have near their nesting sites. Clean up debris and pet food areas that attract rodents.


Rodent Signs

During your annual exterior inspection, you should also look for signs of rodent infestation or damage to your home wiring. You should also take a peek into your attic. If it's too tight a squeeze, consider hiring an inspector.

Here are some signs that you may have a colony in your attic or behind the walls:

  • Rodent droppings around food packages, in drawers or cupboards, or under the sink.
  • Nesting material such as shredded paper, fabric or dried plant matter.
  • Signs of chewing on food packaging.
  • Holes chewed through walls and floors that create entry points into the walls.
  • Flickering lights or strange behavior from appliances, like odd behavior from your microwave display.
  • Visible gnaw and bite marks on wires.
  • Scratching, squealing and scrambling behind walls.
  • Nests and debris near or on wires.
  • Rodent droppings near wiring runs and outlets.
  • Computer and modem issues or failure.
  • Repeated game-console crashes.
  • If grounding or supply lines have been compromised by rodents, you may notice dimmed lights when compressors kick on. For example, when your refrigerator or air conditioner cycles, the light bulbs in your rooms will flicker and dim for a moment.
  • Electrical surges and reductions in the current fed to your home's wiring and appliances.

Beyond the destruction these critters can do to your home, it is also a problem that most of us find totally disgusting.  Prevention and inspections are the key.  The old saying- “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Let us know if we can ever be of any help to you or your family by calling or texting us at 781-289-7445 or emailing me at