Mouse ruined my new oven?

svs128September 12, 2011

We remodeled our kitchen last summer and replaced all the appliances. Nothing too fancy but a HUGE upgrade from the super old electric range.

A few weeks ago I found a mouse in the oven. I preheated the oven to 425 degrees before I knew it was in there and the mouse was burnt to a crisp. Yuck!

Since then, we've noticed an odor whenever the oven is on - doesn't smell when we use the burners, just the oven. We tried the 4 hour self clean but the odor is still here. I've cleaned every reachable surface.

Over the weekend I took the back panel off the range and inspected the insulation (what little I could see). There appears to be some mice damage (a few droppings and some of the insulation looks disturbed).

I've called every appliance repair company and repair man in town, no one will even look at it! They all say to trash it. I offered to pay double just for a repair estimate, but had no luck. Is there really no way to replace the oven insulation?

It seems extremely wasteful (and expensive!!) to just throw a one year old range away. Any thoughts?

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dadoes

Both urine and droppings are involved. Clearing the odor would require complete disassembly of the unit, washing of all the interior parts/surfaces, and replacement of all the insulation and possibly some of the components such as switches that may have absorbed the odor and can't be individually disassembled for cleaning. Even if you could find a servicer to do the job, it'd likely be VERY expensive. If you really want to save the range, maybe try doing the job yourself.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 1:16PM
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chesters_house_gw

In my experience, the stench means the stove is scrap metal. Maybe just changing out the insulation would do the trick, but when this happened to me the service guy who came by didn't offer much hope for that.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 3:10PM
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svs128

Thanks for the replies. I am hearing the same thing from everyone - trash it.

Guess I am hoping for a last ditch effort to save the $1000 replacement cost.

Any tips for preventing this for happening? We certainly are not overrun with mice - no more than any other "older" home. We have a cat who is a great hunter and will catch 2-3 mice a year.

Other than traps, do people normally do anything to their ranges to prevent this from happening?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 3:15PM
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rhome410

Oh my gosh. I have nothing to offer, but sympathy. One of our cats brought a HUGE mousehunt victim into our sewing room and it was hiding under an overturned basket until the terrible smell led me to it. It was a semi-horrific discovery, but I have to say, not as bad as in the oven. I'm SO sorry. And extra sorry it means scrapping a new oven! I've also replaced 4 ovens in our new kitchen, so know that's not a fun or welcome task.

When you remove the appliance, is there no way to make sure the area the new one goes into will be sealed from mouse access? Seems like there should be a way...

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 4:12PM
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beekeeperswife

Does your homeowner's insurance cover this?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 6:30AM
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svs128

Beekeeperswife - It is not covered by our homeowner's insurance. But, if it catches on fire because of the damage, then they will cover it. Nice huh?

rhome410 - We think the mouse came up from the cellar through the small opening next to the gas line. Apparently some mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime. Crazy. We'll definitely be taking care of that hole but I guess a mouse could still go under the range from the front. We live in an older home so fixing every dime size hole isn't realistic. We'll be investing in some mouse traps and maybe another cat. :)

One appliance repair store suggested covering any openings in the back of the range with tin foil. I am going to wrap my new range in tinfoil.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 8:38AM
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chesters_house_gw

Cats helped us with prevention. Otherwise, once the evenings get cooler and mice begin looking for new homes, I keep things really clean -- no crumbs in the oven or anywhere, no spills that aren't cleaned up thoroughly.

So far so good, but it's only been one winter with the new stove. The house with the mouse problem is a summer/weekend house, so the cats aren't on patrol during the winter.

The service guy who came by has a hunting cabin with propane stove. To keep the mice away, he attaches chicken wire with tape, with the sticky side out, over openings to keep the mice out when he's not there. For closing up a house, maybe that would work. But full time, removing wire every time time stove is in use wouldn't make sense.

There is the solution of sealing off whatever cracks the mice are using to get in, if that's possible. I'd worry about using traps with cats around. We have two old houses. We closed off the main mouse highways, but no doubt there still are back roads in.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 8:41AM
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kaseki

Ideally, all openings between floors should be firestopped by the appropriate material (typically a silicone like red goop extruded from a caulk tube). However, another approach is the open sticky trap. One brand is called Revenge (appropriately for those subjected to real rodents and not just Mickey). Another brand is configured to be an open end box with the sticky part scented with peanut odor.

Checking the traps often will keep down the smell of the deceased vermin. The traps need to be placed where cats won't get attached to them.

kas

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 10:36AM
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muskokascp

Sticky traps are inhumane. I am not advocating letting the mice rule in your house but there are more humane ways to kill a mouse. A good old fashioned mouse trap that will kill them quickly is what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:19AM
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eandhl

Are your cats indoor only cats? If so you might consider moth balls around your foundation, they help deter mouse entry. Do not do this if your pets go outside.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:57AM
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svs128

eandhl - My cat is strictly indoors but the dog goes outside and he isn't the smartest. Defiantly don't want to risk poisoning anything or anyone (I also have young children).

I think we'll be placing traditional mouse traps behind our stove from now on. And maybe behind the frig too. Anywhere the cat cant reach them.

Update - We purchased our range from a local appliance store and they have come to our rescue. They will be picking the range up on Thursday, supplying a "loaner" range and inspecting our range at their store. Finally someone willing to at least look at it! We understand that it may still be beyond saving, but my fingers are crossing.

If you live in upstate New York, I HIGHLY recommend Thayers Appliance. This is the third time they have gone out of their way to help me. Can't say enough good things about them.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 3:53PM
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rhome410

NICE. So wonderful to know such a helpful business who is willing to go beyond their own responsibilities to get you baking again!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:27PM
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eandhl

svs. Kudos to Thayers! Also do you have any friends that have a lot of mint in their garden. Harvest it and spread the stems with leaves around your foundation. Mice do not like mint. Not a cure all but it could help and not harm other animals or children.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:41PM
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eandhl

svs, Kudos to Thayers! Also do you have any friends that have a lot of mint in their garden. Harvest it and spread the stems with leaves around your foundation. Mice do not like mint. Not a cure all but it could help and not harm other animals or children.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:42PM
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alexrander

Any odor will eventually go away as the material decomposes. I think heat will help. And time. I've heard of dead mice, etc. that have died between the wall studs of houses, and eventually it composts!

I can just imagine you don't want to wait 6 months or more, but I bet the odor would go away in that amount of time. Especially if you use the oven and dry it up.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 9:04PM
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chas045

If you end up back on your own again, I would suggest that it couldn't hurt to try spraying 'Natures Miricle' or similar 'get urine out' product. That could work in conjuction with some time.

I had an old house that finally got overrun with mice. I succeded in stoping the intrusion by stuffing SOS soap pads (steel wool/soap) in potential holes.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 9:50PM
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chesters_house_gw

Hope they find an solution for you. If they were a little closer to me (I'm upstate, but Ithaca is 2 1/2 hours from everywhere, or at least that was my impression when I lived there) I'd buy at Thayers!
And yes on steel wool. We stuffed holes with it.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 10:17PM
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svs128

chesters_house - We were recently trying to arrange a transport from North Carolina to Ithaca - the driver was convinced we were in Canada because he didn't recognize the names of any of the surrounding cities. :)

alexr - I'm sure time would solve the smell issue but I also think this is a sanity issue. I can't stomach eating anything out of the oven in its current state. Anyways, I have visions of guests smelling burnt mouse instead turkey at our Thanksgiving dinner!

chas045 - I am hesitant to spray any cleaning products into the range. I think the smell would be awful and a potential health risk. Also, some areas of the insulation are simply unreachable, unless I take the range apart. If that happens, I may never figure out how to put it back together!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 10:51AM
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chas045

I actually wasn't suggesting you spray from inside the oven. I admit that I am no longer familiar with the structure of modern ovens, but assuming similarity to old ovens, I would expect to be able to remove the outside panels and get at the insulation from the outside.

Natures miracle smells real nice, but I haven't baked any of it and you could be right. I guess I would then try rincing it off with sprayed water in the hot sun. I assume that your nice repair place will do something similar.

I don't suppose this next info will do your 'sanity issue' any good, BUT I used to work in an animal research lab and on a couple of studies, needed to know the weight of the rat bones. We boiled the rat (mice are very similar!) and I learned that rat soup smells (and tastes; yes, I checked) like turkey soup. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 3:00PM
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svs128

chas045 - In that case, who needs a turkey!

You are right. Natures Miracle is a great product.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 3:23PM
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