Mice, termites, cockroaches, and your electrical wiring

-When we think about household pests, the immediate concern is often damage to our property or health. However, there’s a hidden danger that vermin like rodents, termites, insects, and other vermin pose, and that is damage to electrical wiring. Damaged electrical wiring is dangerous and expensive and when a home or business has installed a solar system, there is another layer of necessary watchfulness to find and remedy any damage as soon as possible. Electricraft, Inc., providing quality electrical and solar installation services to San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast, has prepared this report to help property and solar system owners know how to deal with these creepy-crawling and fuzzy, cute invaders.

What kinds of animals and insects can damage electrical wiring?

Just about any critter that gets into or under a building has the potential to damage wiring. Some examples are:

  • Termites weaken structures, letting water seep into the walls and damaging electrical wiring, increasing the chances of an electrical fire.
  • Mice, rats, raccoons, and other fuzzy vermin chew wood and insulation including the coating on electrical wires. Rodents that like to nest under the house, in crawl spaces, and in the walls leave corrosive excretions behind that weaken electrical wires. Their nests are not only health hazards, they are also fire hazards, especially from weakened electrical wiring. When rodents chew through electrical insulation, they expose live wires, increasing the risk of short circuits, electrical sparks, or even electrical fires.
  • Cockroaches, earwigs, and some other creepy-crawly insects like to nest in warm dark places, like electrical boxes and appliances. Their bodily secretions can corrode wires and connectors, compromising electrical conductivity. This can lead to electrical malfunctions, short circuits, equipment damage, and fire.

Regularly inspecting buildings help find signs of vermin infestation early. When you have a solar system, be sure to inspect the panels and connecting wiring and electrical components along with the regular home and business inspection.

It’s important to hire the appropriate exterminator to get rid of the invading pests and a licensed electrician to inspect and repair electrical damage. The Electricraft team can inspect, troubleshoot and repair electrical systems and solar installation. The San Luis Obispo team is licensed and certified for all aspects of electrical and solar systems.

Preventing infestations

To prevent infestations:

  • Inspect for any entry points that vermin can use to gain access.
  • Seal gaps around utility pipes, vents, windows, and doors using caulk or weatherstripping.
  • Cover exterior vents and openings with fine mesh screens to prevent vermin entry.
  • Install rodent-proof outlet covers and junction boxes to deter pests.
  • Keep your home clean and free of food debris, as it attracts pests.
  • Regularly clean and vacuum areas prone to vermin activity, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Schedule regular inspections by a pest control professional to identify and address vermin infestations promptly.

Signs of electrical damage

The San Luis Obispo team of solar installers and electricians report that it’s important to recognize the signs of problems with electrical systems. In addition to the presence of rodents, insects and other vermin, signs of problems include:  

  • Frequent circuit breaker tripping.
  • Flickering or dimming lights.
  • Hot switches or outlets.
  • Burning or “fishy” smell, indicating overheating or melting wires.
  • Sparking or arcing.
  • Discolored or charred outlets/switches.
  • Buzzing or crackling sounds.
  • Outlets or switches not working.
  • Shock or tingling sensation when touching appliances, outlets, or switches.

Get help 24/7 by calling Electricraft at (805) 544-8224 in the event of an emergency, or reach out at your convenience.