Have you seen one of our reports lately specifically noting rodent infestation evidence such as the presence of mice? Did you say to yourself Oh My! He's so picky? Well it's important to understand that the presence of critters such as mice, is not just a matter of a few droppings that can easily be swept up. It's important to understand that the presence of rodents such as mice can have far reaching adverse affects on a structure.
One of the biggest dangers is that rodents such as rats and mice can chew on electrical wiring resulting in catastrophic house fires. It has been estimated that 20% of all house fires, that are undetermined, are a result of rodent initiated fires. Rodent's teeth are always growing and therefore they chew constantly. What are they chewing? Your home. Yep, that's right. Mice can actually chew through soft concrete, aluminum, drywall, and plastic piping.
Now, the really bad news. Most standard homeowner policies contain a number of exclusions including insect and rodent infestation. Homeowners are expected to take care of their homes. However, most insurance companies will cover losses that result from an unexpected loss or hidden damage. This means that if a rat or mouse chews into electrical wires, which results in a fire, the insured should under most cases be covered providing the rodent problem was not noticeable.
Some other concerns are rodents can also transmit disease to humans such as Typhus fever, Trichinosis, Plague, and Salmonella. A single pair of mice, in a six month period, can eat about four pounds of food and produce 18,000 fecal droppings. Disgusting.
Mice can enter a home through openings to the outside as small as ¼ inch in diameter. Larger rodents, such as rats, require holes as small as ½ inch. Because of the negative impact rodents can have on a structure, Hancock Home Inspections will note the presence of any infestation evidence that is readily visible. Often times evidence is uncovered during a Wood Destroying Insect Inspection. When these are not performed along with a whole house structural evaluation, generally infestation evidence is more difficult to uncover. Our inspection efforts and report writing relative to rodent infestations, are not designed to kill a deal or create nervousness with a buyer, but rather provide the buyer with a clear understanding of our concerns and allow them to treat as needed. There are many steps that homeowners can take to deal with a rodent infestation themselves or they can contact a pest control company and get on a regular preventive program. These are relatively inexpensive and provide the homeowner with a little more piece of mind.
So the next time you say "There's a mouse in my house", understand it can lead to a serious situation and shouldn't be taken lightly.