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How Rodents Affect Your Home’s Electrical System

mouse in the attic When mice, rats and squirrels enter your home, they typically begin building their nests in your attic. In this location, you are less likely to notice them right away and the attic provides insulation through the colder months.

The longer they live there, the more food and nesting materials they need, and their old habits come into play, including gnawing. Because rodents’ teeth grow as much as 5 in. per year, gnawing becomes a necessary habit to keep their teeth under control. Otherwise, they’ll end up starving to death.

While they prefer wood, ducts or something with nutritional value, they’ll also go after electrical cords, as the wires help them sharpen their teeth. In turn, their gnawing may create a short or dead circuit, cause an alarm to go off or result in an unexplained fire that spreads through your home.

Fire Hazards

Fires frequently occur when rodents expose the copper inside the wire, which then touches wood, paper or another flammable object. Unfortunately, with exposed beams in an attic, there is a greater likelihood of this happening in other parts of your home. Once the wire leans on it, the wood, insulation or debris quickly starts to burn. From here, the flames spread through the house.


When you’re dealing with rats or mice, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with an exterminator first to get the problem under control. But even from here, more measures need to be taken. If wires pass through your attic, you may want to consider:

  • Burying your cables in concrete. Rodents can’t chew through even a thin layer. If you have to rethink your home’s wiring after an outage or fire, take this step early on.
  • Using a metal conduit or steel cover. If exposed wires run over a long distance in your home, cover them with steel piping or metal tubing. As with concrete, gnawing won’t wear these materials down.
  • Plastic pipes. Although mice and rats do chew on plastic, the pipes are typically thick enough that gnaw marks won’t go through. Within homes, this method is the most common, as it conveniently and affordably keeps your wires secure and can be run underground. Make sure the pipes aren’t broken or split, otherwise rodents will go directly after your wires.

Worried about rats or mice in your home? As the first line of defense before you make any modifications, reach out to the exterminators at Eliminate ‘Em. To learn more about our services or to make an appointment, give us a call today.