A home remodel is stressful enough but when Ahwatukee Foothills resident Pam Thompson found out some kind of rodent had chewed through nearly every wire in her home it was a shock for which she was not prepared.

“That was pretty traumatic,” Thompson said. “The idea of knowing there are vermin in your ceiling is pretty gross. Knowing it’s not just one but there is a household up there, at least at some point, is pretty awful. Then every day they came to work and had to drill into another ceiling. It was quite disturbing.”

Thompson was raising the ceiling and remodeling the bathrooms in her Ahwatukee Foothills home. Her contractor was sawing a portion of the wall when something caused the lights to go out. The contractor, thinking he had cut some wires, called Cirtcele Electric to come and check it out. Once a hole was cut to see into the ceiling it was obvious that the contractor hadn’t cut any wires. Two wires had been chewed by some kind of rodent and the vibration of the saw had allowed those wires to touch, causing a short in the circuit breaker.

The roof was a flat roof with no attic, which meant the ceiling had to be cut away to assess the damage. Each day the men cut more of the ceiling back and each day they found more damage. Almost all of the wires in the home had to be replaced, said Dave Specht of Circele Electric. In the end with clean up, new dry wall and replacing all of the wires it cost the Thompsons well over $20,000, not including the remodeling they were planning on paying for.

“It was an absolute disaster,” Specht said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in the 35 plus years I’ve been doing this.”

Specht said damage that extensive is rare but suggests homeowners be aware. He says whenever he does run into what he calls “critter damage,” which in the Thompson’s case was not covered by insurance, he sends a note out to warn the neighbors.

It may be a good idea to have the wiring checked in your home if you suspect any rodents may have gotten to it. Thompson said since they’ve gotten their home repaired she’s been very aware of any small feet she might hear.

“You really have to be aware and maybe have a house check,” she said. “You check for termites and carpenter ants and all of those kinds of problems and you just have to be aware and checking your home. I think the homes in Ahwatukee that do not have actual attics make it really hard. You can’t just walk up there and check on it. It’s a difficult space to reach. I think you simply have to have a knowledgeable person to come and check your house periodically.”

Cirtcele Electric suggests having an extermination professional seal your home from rodents and of course clean up any debris that might attract them in the first place. If you suspect there may be some damage, an electrician can check the wiring in the home. Even without an attic electricians can often get into the ceiling through a light fixture and check some of the wiring from there. For more information on rodent damage, call Cirtcele Electric at 480-545-9600 or visit their website at cirtceleelectric.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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