Electronics > Repair

Is there a way to test if mice are chewing the wiring in your home?

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Beamin:
I am renting at an old apartment building probably built around 1900 so it seems to have been retro fitted for electricity several times. I can hear mice in the walls and often I notice the lights flicker, at first I thought this was due to window AC units coming on as these old buildings seem to have that problem, its one of those old row homes with four bed rooms, and a modern looking breaker panel in the basement but I suspect there are not enough circuits or the legs are not balanced out.

What I am worried about though is mainly fire in the walls. The lights still flicker even though I dont think any AC's or big loads are running and one time I saw the lights dim for 5-10 seconds which really worried me as thats what wiring will due as it heats up but is just enough not to pop the breaker.

I don't know  a whole lot about AC or home wiring have only installed it once. How would you tell if there are potential chewed/arcing/shorting wires without opening the walls up? Unfortunately the mice are in between units; so its a gray zone as to who is responsible us or the neighbor, I'm not sure if these buildings have brick between each address or if its just a wall. Wouldn't arcing appear as quick dimming to several lights while a sustained short would be a set of lights (hall bed room, bathroom) all "browning out" for a few seconds? I sleep with a fire extinguisher next to my bed because once I had to run into a burning building to get people out and I prefer not to do that again.

DavidAlfa:
That's what the ground fault circuit breaker does (when any of the phases touches the ground).
Also in America you have have arc-fault detectors, supossed to detect when there's a loose connection, damaged wire, etc, causing arcing.
These aren't common in Europe, if used at all. We take 240V like real men :D

xrunner:

--- Quote from: Beamin on September 26, 2021, 11:48:18 pm ---How would you tell if there are potential chewed/arcing/shorting wires without opening the walls up?

--- End quote ---

You really can't. But you ( or the building super) can set traps and start the process of ridding the problem. But whatever damage they did is a done deal. Mice 1 humans zero at this point.

Nusa:
You don't need much of a hole to put an inspection camera in, but that assumes you have such a camera and access to the area. I suspect you have neither, outside of your own rooms. You also need to know what you're looking at and what constitutes a problem. If you're serious about the 1900 part, there could still be knob-and-tube wiring in active use (which actually would be pretty safe even without insulation if it was properly installed and not disturbed by humans, but that's another subject).

BrokenYugo:
Does this panel only supply your unit, or the whole building?

Either way, practically speaking your options are move or upgrade your renter's insurance. Old buildings like that always have sketchy electrical.

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