How to Prevent Mice and the Damage They Can Cause to Your House

Mice are super resourceful creatures, and your home offers plenty of resources such as shelter, food, and warmth. They can also cause significant destruction. It's important to be aware of the first signs of a rodent problem to avoid expensive home damage. You may notice chewed boxes or bags of food and pet food products, knawed wood or electrical wiring, the smell of urine, or dark droppings of feces that look like tiny grains of rice along baseboards or near food sources. 

mouse feces and urine in home

There are easy do-it-yourself remedies for a mouse problem, such as mouse and bait traps. You can always call on professional help if the process becomes a homeowners nightmare. But you probably know the wise words about an ounce of prevention. The best way to avoid progressive and costly damage from mice is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place as a regular part of your home maintenance.  

How to Prevent Mice in Your House

The most effective way of keeping mice out of your home is to ensure all potential entry points are blocked. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as 1/4 inch! Take time twice a year to inspect your foundation, other exterior walls, joints, and cracks around windows and door seals. This includes your garage and attic areas.

Mouse exploring dirty dishes near kitchen sink

Mice have an excellent sense of smell. Keep that in mind with these additional ways to prevent mice from getting in your house:

  • Keep bird feeders far away from your home.
  • Tightly seal food containers as airtight as possible.
  • Keep plants clear of your foundation and soil levels in your flower beds above your siding.
  • Clean kitchen counters and floors regularly, especially after food prep.
  • Take your kitchen trash out daily and store it in plastic trashcans between pickup days.
  • Keep exterior doors, such as sliding patio doors, basement windows, and garage doors closed.
Mouse in open bag of flour

The Danger of Chewed Wires

U.S. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security estimate approximately 15,000 to 30,000 residential fires could be caused by the failure to get rid of rodents. Wires are insulated with a soy-based plastic coating that mice and other rodents mistake for food. They can continue to chew through the inner soft copper wiring inside, causing a short circuit. Once a wire has been compromised, it can become a home fire hazard and must be replaced. Attempting to repair it yourself with electrical tape is not safe or recommended. 

Signs of electrical problems from chewed electrical wires include flickering lights, appliances, or other electronics. You also may notice smoky smells or other unusual burning odors near your electrical panel or outlets.  Circuit breakers may frequently trip. Have an electrician explore the source if you have any of these symptoms.

home wood damage from mice

Does Insurance Cover Mice Damage?

Mice may be resourceful, but regular inspection and maintenance of your home can keep them outside your home. Since home damage from mice and other rodents like squirrels is preventable, it is not covered by standard homeowners insurance. Prevention is key, but if you notice signs of mice in your home, addressing it quickly and properly can mitigate future problems and costly repairs. 

Learn more about homeowners insurance in Virginia >

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