Protecting old wires from rats


Old 03-18-06, 08:25 PM
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Location: Los Angeles County, California
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Protecting old wires from rats

I have an old house and the wires consist of 12 gauge plastic covered copper wire inside a fabric wrapping. Recently when I was pulling out some ceiling panels I saw that a lot of the wires in the attic had been chewed by rats. The outer fabric wrapping was gone in 1-2 foot stretches but the plastic covered wires seemed to be untouched. I thought it would be wise to find a way to covered the stretches where the fabric had been chewed off. It would be too awkward and a lot of work to use electrical tape so I'm looking for some kind of split tubing that I might be able to slip over the specific areas.

The only thing I've seen so far that might work are the dark grey foam tubes that are sold at Home Depot for insulating water pipes. They come in 3-4 foot lengths, are slit lengthwise, and are inexpensive. The tag calls them ARMACELL. But I don't know if this is appropriate for such a use and I'd like to ask for some opinions, and also some suggestions if the ARMACELL is a bad idea.

Thanks in advance,

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Old 03-18-06, 08:40 PM
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If you can't tape them. Then Identify the ckt, wire size, and buy some wire ,boxes,nuts,connectors and covers. Shut off the power and have at it.(splice in new peices to replace the old).

Then get some DE-CON, Nope get that first.
Old 03-19-06, 03:15 AM
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I don't know if you're being facetious, but the reason for my questions was to avoid the many many hours of work you're suggesting(and which would take even longer than wrapping the wires with electrical tape). I don't see any point in replacing wire that seems perfectly good other than the outer cover...but I'd like to be cautious and find a way to protect the spots where the outer cover is missing.

Also, around here (Topanga Canyon, S.Calif), DE-CON is one of the major killers of local bobcats, hawks, coyotes and other wildlife that eat rodents. Sorry but I'll have to pass on that suggestion.

Old 03-19-06, 06:22 AM
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Absolutley NO harm intended, I do not know of another safer/approved way.That won't intail some work.
Better still, If this is a common problem in your area, then you are'nt the first. Go to the local building dept. and ask. Or you could speak with a local electrician on solutions for this
Perhaps others will, Good luck with this.

Last edited by lectriclee; 03-19-06 at 06:42 AM.
Old 03-20-06, 10:39 AM
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The only approved method for repairing old NM cable is complete replacement of the damaged section. Quality electrical tape like 3M brand would probably be very effective, but it is not an approved repair method. Use at your own risk.
Old 03-20-06, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: US
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Two Different Problems

You have two distinct problems.

#1 You have rats in your house.

#2 The rats are eating your wiring.

You cannot correct #2 without eliminating #1. You can patch the wires all you want, but until the rats are eliminated your problems will continue. A previous poster suggested a dose of De-Con which obviously has environmental consequences. Perhaps a local exterminator has an environmentally friendly solution.

I would suspect the pipe insulation you are talking about would be a smorgasboard for rats and none of the professionals state this is a recommended solution.

There is no easy solution to fixing the wiring that will be a long lasting solution. You have to get rid of the rats and then implement one of the solutions previously suggested.

You have a tough problem with no easy solution that doesn't involve a lot of work and some expense both in time and money--good luck.
Old 03-20-06, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Between myself and my brother in law, we've killed several dozen rats over the last two years. He had a huge issue in his attic; he would literally set a trap in the am before work, and before lunch, a couple of dead bodies would be up there. We learned a couple of things. We would not consider poison in either boats or attics. They will die and you can't control where they will decompose and stink... Plus, the act of removing dead rat bodies in a trap is very satisfying.
We had excellent luck with peanut butter and tethered traps. A few times, the rat will be able to crawl away with the trap. It's best NOT to attach the trap to a board, but you do want to tether it. Do a visual around your attic, make sure there are no openings greater than an inch in diameter, less if possible. I've seen them climb straight up a vertical concrete seawall soaking wet. Don't assume they won't find or get to a sizable opening. Good luck.
Old 03-20-06, 12:55 PM
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Trapping of rats is recommended. Baits and poisons inside homes can result in rats dying in walls or other inconspicuous place and causing odor problems until completely decomposed. Exclusion is the best method to keep rats out of home. Find entries and seal.
Old 03-22-06, 03:20 AM
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Use MC cable. It is much harder for rodents and insects to devour.

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