Back Rats! Water or gas pipes been chewed?

Date: 25 February 2024

If you have had a problem with rats and suspect they have caused damage to water pipes or gas pipes around your property, Topline can help source the leak and repair or replace the damaged pipesGet in touch now >

What is it with rats lately?

Rats seem to be the hot topic of conversation lately, whether it’s the rodent infestation throughout NZ’s major supermarkets, or that unsettled scratching or stench that’s coming from underneath, inside or above. There was also a NZ Herald article about rats chewing through gas pipes in a Grey Lynn home with near catestrophic consequences. 

Is there a rat issue in Auckland currently?

Rats are always around, but it’s only when they enter our spaces, we become aware of them as a problem. Rats will come inside in search of food and water and be driven inside by extreme hot and cold temperatures. They’ll find a gap to squeeze into or chew through just about anything to get there.

Q: Why are rats a problem? A: They cause damage.

Rodents can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of occupants, causing damage to essential services in and around the home, and contaminate water, leading to health issues.

  • Unsanitary, causing sickness
    Rodents carry disease and can contaminate water supply. Diseases such as LCM, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, hantavirus, leptospirosis, tularemia and salmonella can be spread to humans.

  • Damage, costly
    Chew through and cause damage to water pipes, electrical wires, gas pipes etc.

If you suspect rats may have chewed through electrical wires, gas pipes or water pipes call for help immediately. Topline can help with urgent gas or water issues – contact us now.

Can rats cause water damage?

Yes, amongst other things, rats chew through water pipes! Water leaks can cause major damage to walls, ceilings, floors, etc and result in costly repairs to replace broken pipework and surrounding water damaged structures.

Find out more water leak information >

Why do rats chew through water pipes?

  • Constant need to chew
    Rodents incisors never stop growing so they need to constantly chew to keep them worn down, so chewing through anything is desirable to them.

  • Source water
    Rats need water and are constantly in search of it.

  • Poison
    Rat poison causes blood to coagulate which in turn makes rats extra thirsty. Desperately dehydrated rats will go to extreme lengths to source water.

Are plastic pipes most likely to be chewed by rats?

Common plastic products such as poly butylene water pipework is the most susceptible to being chewed by rats, as it is a very soft plastic.

Which water pipes offer the best protection against rats?

Modern PEX water pipe products are better than poly butylene plastic but if the rats are motivated, they can easily chew through this material too. Copper pipework is likely the most reliant option available for water supply pipework but also not totally immune.

Beware of rats causing damage to gas pipes

Although not common there are cases of near catastrophic outcomes with rats chewing through gas pipes, causing a gas leak. There was a case in Grey Lynn reported on in February of 2024 reported in the NZ Herald.

Take a look at the article here: 

If you smell gas or notice an interruption in your usual gas flow don’t delay – contact Topline immediately!

What are the signs rats may be present?

  • Look for: Droppings, chewed pipes and cables, holes where they are gaining entry

  • Listen for: Noises from movement, scratching, squeaking

  • Smell: Odour from rats (dead and alive)

Also be aware of water, electrical and gas anomalies and call in the experts!

Signs your water pipes may have been chewed by rats

  • Low water pressure
  • Water stains or marks in walls, ceilings, flooring
  • Occupants may get sick with common symptoms such as fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, diahearra, dizziness from disease spread by rats.

What to do if you suspect rats are a problem

  • Call pest control or set traps
  • Reduce the chance of more rats gaining entry. Ensure all gaps or holes are plugged.
  • Call in our team if you suspect damage to gas or water pipes

Repairs after rat infestation

Call in Topline the plumbing experts, to check, repair or replace your water pipes (or gas pipes) caused by rats. Phone 0800 111 818 or enquire online now.

Remember: If you’d like our expert opinion on the state of your pipes and suggestions on how your plumbing can be improved or future-proofed give the team a call now. Not all water pipe products are created equal – we believe in supplying quality parts and materials, more likely to last the test of time. 

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