Did you know that rodents can cause extensive damage to your home appliances? You probably already know they carry disease, but you might be surprised to learn that a rodent is capable of causing major damage to your oven, dryer, or any other home appliance.
During a standard service call, we found this nasty little rodent taking up residence in the back of this appliance. He was dead, and boy, oh boy, did he stink! The best way to prevent appliance damage from rodents is to learn how to keep rodents out of your home appliances in the first place.
How Rodents Damage Home Appliances
Unlike most other animals, a rodent’s incisors continue to grow unless they gnaw on something to wear their teeth down. Electrical and thermal insulation has just the right texture to make it irresistible to their gnawing instincts. Rats also like to nest in the insulation and pull it apart, unraveling the fibre. This not only reduces the effectiveness of insulation, but also creates an additional fire hazard.
Rodents are attracted to warm places, so it is not unusual to find them in or around warm appliances. They can easily die in these areas resulting in stench, airflow problems, electrical shorts, etc. Rodents will often nest inside the thermal insulation of your oven, usually urinating in the process and creating a horrible smell. This problem can ruin a new oven beyond repair.
How To Keep Rodents Out
- Look for signs of gnawing or droppings. Try to identify a rat by looking for signs of gnawing and droppings. If rats are present, you should look for points of entry and remove the rodent as quickly as possible.
- Block Access Points. Rats can get through a hole ½ inch in diameter while mice can go through one half that size. Make sure that all potential entry points are secure including vents, pipes, wiring, roof tiles, under doors, and any other opening of adequate size. They are excellent climbers, so start at ground level, then look for alternate forms of entry like phone wires. You can plug the holes with steel wool (which they won’t chew through) and a coating of spray foam latex.
- Clean and secure your food items as thoroughly as possible. Rodents are attracted to food smells including pantry food and pet food. If you have spills and crumbs around your appliance (i.e. the oven), you should clean often and thoroughly to avoid attracting rodents.
- Consolidate or hide wires, cords, and cables. Use cord clips to attach to walls or hide them with a concealed surge protector, tubes, conduits, or raceways.
- Use a pesticide or home remedy deterrent. Peppermint oil is a strong rat deterrent that humans (usually) find pleasant. Soak a few cotton balls in peppermint oil then place them strategically around your appliance. You will need to replace them when the smell fades.