Wiring: A Gnawing Problem

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rothwerx/2641452698. By Jeremiah Roth. Mice rats chewed wire. Electrical Electrician Indianapolis Indiana.

Photo by Jeremiah Roth

It’s a well-known fact that rodents incessantly gnaw. They have to because their front teeth never stop growing, and they need to wear the teeth down. Because of their instinct to chew and gnaw, rodents — namely rats and mice — can wreak havoc in electrical systems when they expose wires after chewing off the coatings. Once wires are exposed, the wires can short or cause fires.

Another reason rats and mice gnaw on cables is because the cables obstruct their path. Rodents and other animals tend to move very efficiently when they travel. So, when a cable obstructs their route, they will try to remove it by gnawing and biting at it so they can travel easier.

A third reason (or theory) why these animals gnaw cables is that they’ve learned food is often stored in plastic containers. So, they’ll chew through plastic in hopes of finding a meal.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that vermin are here to stay and will continue to get into electrical systems. Here are five ways to prevent rats and mice from destroying your wiring:

No. 1: Deter Rats and Mice

The best way to prevent chewed cables and wiring is to deter the rats and mice that cause the damage. There are a number of ways of doing this.

Clean Up

First, make sure the areas around the wires are free of clutter and debris. Rats and mice are constantly looking for places to nest. So, the cleaner an area is, the less chances are that they’ll take up residence.

Seal Holes

Mice can enter buildings through cracks as small as 1/4 inch. So, to keep rodents out, you’ll need to identify and block all the entry points into your building. Weakened areas and rotting wood are also possible points of entry for rodents, as they’ll gnaw their way into the structure.

Limit Access to the Roof

There’s no reason to make it easier for rats and mice to get into your building. Trim back limbs and plants that are hanging over your roof or growing right beside the building.

Take Out the Trash

Store biodegradable trash (food) outside in containers vermin can’t get into. Nothing invites rats and mice more than the smell of free food.

Use Repellents

Commercial repellents can deter rodents from entering an area. Some spray repellents mimic predator scents, like coyotes and bobcats. Others come in pouches or bags and smell pleasant (peppermint, eucalyptus, etc.).

No. 2: Protect the Wires

Some locations, like college campuses and stadiums will always invite rats and mice. If it’s impossible or very difficult to keep rodents out of your facilities, your best bet is to protect your wires.

One way to protect your wires is to lay them in concrete. Rodents won’t chew through concrete. Even a thin layer will protect wires.

A second option is to run the wire through steel trunking or covers. Like concrete, rats and mice can’t chew through it, so wires inside of these housings will remain safe.

A similar idea is to run wires through plastic tubing. It, too, will protect wires from gnawing and chewing. With either steel or plastic, however, you’ll have to make sure there are no gaps or entryways into the conduit, as the tight space will make a nice nesting area for rodents. The rodents will gnaw the wires if they can get in, which is what you’re trying to prevent.

No. 3: Stick to the Route

One of the reasons rats and mice chew cables is because they’re trying to clear a path so they can travel efficiently. Thus, if a cable goes through a hole or joist, rodents may gnaw at it so their path is clear. But if a cable lies flat or goes over the top of a joist, the rodents will most likely ignore it.

No. 4: Check Out the Material

Producers are being pushed to develop biodegradable products. That being the case, some now make wiring with coatings derived from soy. Apparently, rodents find the coating particularly attractive. Environmentally friendly indeed.

No. 5: Roadblocks

Since the eighteenth century, cones have been used to stop rats and mice from traveling along cables. Modern adaptations, such as ConeStop, do the same. Rats and mice run along conduits because they provide a nice roadway for them through buildings. But if you block their road, the animals will go elsewhere, where they can move more freely.

Apparently, the method works, and it keeps rats and mice off cables.

If you’ve experienced trouble with shortages or fires because of chewed and damaged cables, call a pest control expert to deal with the animals. Call White’s Electrical to repair your wiring.

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