Everybody knows that mice chew on things. And often, we assume they chew exclusively on organic material. We figure that behavior must serve a purpose of either acquiring food, or building nests…maybe creating mouse holes, as pictured in cartoons. Why would mice chew on electrical wiring? It isn’t a food source, and it isn’t suitable for nest building. In fact, being full of electricity, we might even wonder if they have some sort of ability to recognize that danger and stay away from live electrical wires.
Surprisingly, electrical wiring is fairly high up on the list of things mice chew on. Why is that? The answer lies in the wire’s insulation. The outer jacket of a lot of electrical wire is made of a, which mice and other rodents mistake as a food. Once through the insulation, they sometimes just keep going, on the copper wire.
Ah, but once they’ve chewed up the outer insulation, the metal core of the wire is impervious to mice teeth, isn’t it? They can’t bite through solid core copper wiring, so they might be able to do cosmetic damage, but they certainly can’t “ruin” the wiring. Can they?
Yes, they can. First of all copper is a relatively soft metal, and it is actually possible for mice to chew through it. Also, once the insulation is gone, a wire is no longer safe from short circuits. If a bare copper wire touches another bare copper wire, the best case scenario is you pop a circuit breaker. The worst case is your house burning down. Once the insulation has been compromised, the wiring is no longer usable, and no, it is not safe to simply wrap it up with some electrical tape.
The best method of guarding against mouse damage to your wires is can identify a mouse infestation, and more importantly, eliminate the mice that caused the damage. Contact us right away if you suspect mice are in your house.. Eliminating access points all around the perimeter of your house is time consuming, but that is your first line of defense. However, if you already have mice in the house, your first and best action is to contact an experienced, professional exterminator.