Unfortunately rats and mice, and even possums love to chew electrical cable, and yes it is possible for that sort of damage to start a fire.
These days cable is manufactured with an additive in the plastic that is supposed to deter rodents from chewing, but it doesn’t seem to be completely effective. It pays to keep the ceiling areas and underneath your house free of mice and rats if you want to avoid rodent damage to your cables.
Traps and bait are effective in controlling rodents and you should also do a quick check of the visible and accessible cable and junction boxes whenever someone gets into the ceiling space.
Remember, it’s a good idea to turn off the power before getting into any ceiling space.
Earth-leakage circuit breakers, (safety switches), are a good way to prevent problems caused by rodents. A safety switch won’t prevent a mouse from chewing your cables, but if that sort of damage does occur, a correctly operating safety switch will trip out before shorting cables can start a fire.
Old fuse boards without safety switches don’t provide the same protection, and an exposed and arcing cable can start a fire.
Things to watch for include the usual signs of rats and mice, as well as chewed cables and junction boxes and buzzing noises inside wall cavities. Particularly buzzing noises that start or stop whenever you turn on a light switch.
As usual, if in doubt, please give us a call on 6331 4711 and we’ll be happy to do a quick check to make sure your wiring is in a good safe condition.