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Squirrels in Attic Chewing Wires

Are squirrels chewing wires in your attic?

Squirrels in an attic chewing wires is a serious issue. The first sign of a squirrel in the attic is usually the sound of scampering during the day, as they come and go on foraging trips.

Young squirrels, and sometimes adults, may fall into wall cavities and be unable to climb out, making persistent scratching noises as they try to escape (and eventually dying if they can’t).

The thought of having a good sized rodent nesting in the attic is bad enough, but they can also cause serious problems with your home’s wiring, as our electrician Scott discovered while troubleshooting a homeowner’s power outage!

A weasel even chewed wires that shut down the Large Hadron Super Collider!

Squirrels in attic can cause lots of damage.

Squirrels like to gnaw – on anything – including phone wire, coaxial cable, and electrical wire!

In addition to squirrels chewing wires, they will chew on the insulation until the bare wire is exposed, then move on to another spot and nibble some more. Next thing you know, you have sections of energized wire all over the attic that can come in direct contact with wood, the paper backing on insulation, or other combustibles. This is a fire waiting to happen!

Compromised wiring can also result in flickering lights and intermittent or localized power outages in your home.

If coaxial cable or cat 5 wires are damaged, you can experience poor or no television reception or the inability to maintain a good internet connection.

What to do if you’ve got squirrels in your attic.

Here are some tips on dealing with nuisance squirrels in your attic from the Humane Society.

Find the point of entry. Thoroughly inspect the inside of the attic to find the opening(s). If there is no way into the attic, inspect the exterior eaves, vents and roof.

Find out if it’s a mother squirrel with young. Try to locate her nest (probably made of insulation, cardboard and leaves). If it’s February through May or August through October, it’s very likely that babies are present. In that case, the best thing to do is wait a few weeks until the babies grow old enough to leave with their mother. They won’t survive without her. Don’t try to trap and relocate the family yourself.

Get them out. If you can’t wait until the mother and babies leave on their own, hire a professional who knows how to reunite mothers with their offspring. If you find the nest and there are no baby squirrels, you can try to frighten the adult squirrels into leaving. It might be as easy as banging on the rafters or going into the attic and speaking loudly. You can also try putting a bright light in the attic and leaving it on, playing a radio around the clock or putting rags soaked with cider vinegar in the attic (squirrels don’t like the smell). Or you can just wait until you’re sure all the squirrels have left, which they usually do during the day.

Keep them out. Install metal flashing to keep squirrels from re-opening access points into attics. Listen carefully after excluding to be sure no squirrel is trapped inside or has gotten back in. Watch closely to see if the squirrel keeps trying to get back inside. Mothers will go to extremes to get back to their babies and frantic attempts to reenter are usually strong evidence that young are still inside. In this case, remove the patch, let the mother return and watch to see if she moves the litter. If it’s cold out, it’s best to wait until spring before removing the squirrels. Excluding them in the depth of winter might compromise their survival.

Check for exposed wiring. Squirrels who have been in attics for a while may have chewed on exposed wiring, which might cause a fire. Once the squirrels are gone, ask an electrician to closely inspect all exposed wiring!

We are not letting mice off the hook, they can cause the same kind of damage to the wiring and cable in your walls!

While our electricians cannot help you move the squirrels, the good news is, that once the critters are evicted and further access denied, and your wiring can be repaired or replaced, depending on the extent of the damage.

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