Rodent Infestation Alert:
Understanding the Damage Mice and Rats can do to Your Home
You may be operating under a common misperception. If a mouse or rat has entered your home, you will learn of its presence promptly. In fact, there are two major problems with this assumption. First, odds are very slim that even if a solitary rodent enters your home that it will remain alone for very long. A pair of things will happen in that regard. More mice or rats will follow and make your home their home. Moreover, rodents breed rapidly and profusely.
Second, odds are very strong that you will have a residential mouse or rat infestation for what can prove to be a truly extended period of time before you’re even aware of the problem. Weeks, months, and even a time period over a year can pass before you gain knowledge that you’ve a mouse or rat problem in your home.
Another associated reality is that once rodents take up a presence in your home, they immediately start doing damage. The extent of damage that can be caused by rodents nesting in your home is another important issue that many are not fully aware. Through this article, you are presented with a direct presentation of the types of damage that can occur to your home as a result of rodent infestation.
We begin this discussion with a bit of biology lesson. Mice and rats – as well as other rodents – have incisors that continue to grow. As a consequence, these mammals need to gnaw on things in order to keep these teeth “trimmed.”
When rodents infest your home, one activity they immediately will engage in is gnawing on almost anything imaginable. One prime target for rodents is electrical wires in your residence.
Mice and rats are very likely to take up residence in places in your home that include:
- Between or behind walls
- Under floorboards
- Above false ceilings
- Utility closets
These prime nesting locations are also oftentimes the sites of electrical equipment and electrical wires. Thus, rodents will have easy access to these wires and they are highly likely to take about chewing on them. Rodents are apt to chew off the protective insulation on wires. The net effect of this gnawing process is to leave live wires bare and exposed.
When electrical wires become stripped of their protective coating, the easily spark a and can ignite an electrical fire. The shocking reality is that more than 25 percent of home fires are caused as the result of rodents gnawing on wires and other electrical components, ultimately causing fires.
Rodents are even capable of causing damage to electrical panels of different types. Any type of contact of this nature can result in damage to a home’s entire electrical system.
Damage to Building Systems
Your home has a variety of crucial systems, including HVAC and plumbing. A rodent infestation in your residence can have a negative impact on these systems in a number of ways.
If you have non-metal plumbing pipes in your residence, the possibility exists that rodents might gnaw on them and cause damage. Fortunately, this is not a highly likely occurrence, but it is a possibility that you must be aware of when considering how mice and rats can harm your home.
The real problem with a rodent infestation and building systems is found in regard to your home’s HVAC system – your home’s heating and air conditioning systems. A rodent infestation can cause damage and harm to your home’s HVAC system in a number of ways.
As has been mentioned, rodents gnaw. As consequences, mice and rats are likely to gnaw through insulated ducts and filters that are components of your HVAC system/
Rodents will also be attracted to ductwork in your home. They are likely to build nests and use ducts as a means of getting around your home. The building of nests in the ducts in your home will begin to impair the efficiency of your HVAC system, and ultimately significantly so.
There is a more significant issue, however. Rodent droppings can contain dangerous pathogens. Pathogens are biological substances that can cause serious disease in human beings, including bacteria and viruses. An example of a dangerous pathogen that can be contained in rodent droppings is something called the hantavirus.
What makes certain pathogens like the hantavirus particularly dangerous in a residential setting is that this virus can survive in dried rodent droppings for an extended period of time. If rodent droppings end up in ductwork and dry out, they can crumble. Indeed, dry rodent droppings crumble apart with ease.
When rodent droppings crumble, dust becomes airborne. If a rodent carries a virus like the hantavirus, along the pathogen also becomes airborne. If this occurs in residential ductwork, the dust and the virus is spread throughout home via the HVAC system. Your family members might the breath in the feces dust and become infected with the hantavirus or some other dangerous pathogen.
Within a very short period of time, a rodent infestation can result in serious structural damage to your home. Many people are surprised to learn that rodents are capable of chewing through many types of materials commonly used in residential construction. Rodent can relatively easily gnaw on, chew through, and damage materials that include:
- Cinder blocks
- Uncured cement
- Roofing materials
The only truly reliable deterrent to a rodent is properly cured cement. Properly cured cement is cement that has dried in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when it comes to cement, a fact which can somewhat reduce its strength. In fact, the reduction in strength is enough to render improperly cured cement or uncured cement to fall victim to rodent incisors.
Over time, and as an infestation grows, a foul stench will begin to permeate a residence. Odors primarily are the result of urine excreted by rodents living in your home. Oftentimes, when a homeowner begins to smell an unpleasant odor, the individual is unable to place it. This is particularly the case if a person has never experienced a mouse or rat infestation.
The odor associated with a rodent infestation intensifies hugely if a rodent dies in a fairly inaccessible location. The stench associated with the decomposition process can be intense. It can permeate a great portion of a residence in short order.
Telltale Signs of Rodent Infestation
As mentioned at the start of this article, people many times are unaware of the presence of mice or rats in their homes for an extended period of time. The truth is a person best protects a residence and the health and wellbeing of its residents by being as proactive as possible in tending to a rodent infestation. With this in mind, there are some telltale signs that a home is infested:
- Visible droppings
- Signs of gnawing
- Scratching sounds
- Scurrying sounds
- Gnawing sounds
Because rodents are primarily nocturnal animals, sounds associated with movement or activity are not likely to be heard until the evening. Droppings are most likely to be evident along walls and in out of the way locations where mice or rats are apt to travel when foraging in your home seeking food.
The significant damage that can result to your home underscores the need to seek professional rodent elimination services. In a similar vein, because of the serious health risks associated with such substances as mouse or rat droppings and urine, seeking professional rodent droppings cleanup assistance (also known as biohazard remediation) is also a truly wise course of action to take. The truth of the matter is that if rodents and their droppings and other waste are not thoroughly eliminated, your home and your family remain at risk.