Squirrels chewed through kitchen wiring

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  #1  
Old 09-27-05, 07:57 AM
MsfixitIllinois
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Question Squirrels chewed through kitchen wiring

Squirrels got into our attic and apparently chewed through the wiring to the can lights over the sink(I took care of the squirrel problem..LOL) Now of course they do not work along with the light in the vent over the stove. The light over the stove worked when you turned on the switch for the can lights..now of course it doesn't. What do I do to fix this. Please guide me step by step. We don't have the money to call an electrician or we would...So I am determined and confident, with the right guidance that I can do it myself with your help. I can't really access this wiring in the part of the attic where it is without cutting a hole in a closet to make a doorway...I am in the process of doing that. I have a test light, wire strippers, wire nuts , electrical tape, junction boxes :etc. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you so very much
 
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Old 09-27-05, 09:07 AM
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You need to identify the damaged sections of wire and replace them. All splices (wirenuts) must be in accessible junction boxes with covers; so the repairs cannot be burried under drywall. If the junction boxess are accessible from the attic, you are okay. The existing cables will not have enough slack to make inline splices, so you will need to identify the junction box each damaged wire goes to and comes from.

If you can, replace the entire length of wire from the source j-box to the destination j-box. If that is not possible, add a new j-box before the damaged wire, replace the damaged section, and add a new j-box after the damage.

Pay attention to the wire gauge and number of conductors. You will probably only have 14/2 or 12/2 cable involved, but if there are 3-way switches or multiwire circuits you could have 14/3 or 12/3 cable. Be sure to replace wire with the same kind you remove. Also, take careful notes about what wires connect where if you go into existing j-boxes. Taking digital pictures can help with this.
 
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Old 09-27-05, 12:00 PM
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don't forget to turn off the breaker(s) before you start or you will be reminded while grabbing the wire!
 
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Old 09-28-05, 07:57 AM
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Squirrels can do immense damage to wiring and I've seen some devastating results from climbing around in a dark attic with exposed live wiring. Please turn off all power to the house before going up there.

You may find this is a bigger job than you can handle and an electrician is your best choice - cheaper than replacing the house after a fire. If so, call your insurance agent. This could be something you can place an insurance claim for.

Doug M.
 
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Old 09-28-05, 08:42 AM
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My sister and brother-in-law had an infestation of racoons in the attic during a length of time their house sat unoccupied. They had to replace some wiring as you do, but also ended up replacing all of the ruined insulation to get rid of the rodent nesting filth. You may want to do a thourough inspection of the attic including biological testing for animal waste depending on how long the squirrels were living up there. If nothing else, a good can of hospital grade disinfectant can't hurt. As another poster suggested your homeowners insurance may cover some of the costs.
 
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