Loose Oven Insulation
December 13, 2017 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday I turned on my wall oven, and a bunch of fuzzy stuff started blowing out from the underside. There's a sort of vent on the bottom there and when I got down on the floor and peered inside I found a big chunk of loose insulation material. Googling this leads to many results about mice or rat infestations. I have no idea how to proceed.

We've lived in our house for two years and about six months ago the cat caught a mouse in the laundry room, but we haven't seen any mice or evidence of mice since that time. I believe the oven is only five years old and there is no noticeable smell. The kitchen is pretty clean and I checked the cabinets under the oven and didn't see anything there except some more insulation. We have a home warranty, but it doesn't cover pest damage.

Is it safe to use the oven?
Should I put out traps or call an exterminator?
Is there some sort of scenario where the insulation would just be falling out on its own?
Basically, what would you do?
posted by galvanized unicorn to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
I checked the cabinets under the oven and didn't see anything there except some more insulation

Unless they are entire hunks of insulation that fell off the oven by gravity alone into those spaces, I'd definitely say there's a rodent taking off small bits and moving them around.

The lack of insulation isn't harmful to the oven, but it does mean that the surrounding cabinetry could get pretty hot, even dangerously hot, during a cycle. I'd pull the unit out of the cabinet and see what you've got going on before operating it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:07 AM on December 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

You probably have mice. If there's any level of mouse activity, it's going to be near the oven, especially in winter. It's ok, it's very normal, and in a similar situation I definitely use the oven and stove. (This winter, the only visible signs have come when we've cleaned the oven.)

IMO/IME, how you approach it depends entirely on you. I take the basic step of not leaving any not-cooking food uncovered on the "hot wall" (range+surrounding countertops) of my kitchen. (They can't seem to reach the other countertop.) Then I roll my eyes at the skittering noises but otherwise ignore (since they're not getting into our pantry food) unless I find mouse poops. In that case I set up a simple trap and kill them quick.

My wife is less tolerant of sharing our home with another rodent so she's called exterminators a couple times, but they haven't helped a ton more than dealing with them ourselves and ignoring the rest.
posted by supercres at 10:10 AM on December 13, 2017

I would definitely check to make sure that insulation is still in working order. It could be a real fire hazard. Also keep in mind that oven insulation still uses asbestos, so don't go huffing it or spreading it around.
posted by Oceanic Trench at 11:08 AM on December 13, 2017

Best answer: Call an appliance repair guy and an exterminator. Probably not in that order.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:19 AM on December 13, 2017

On further thought, don't use the oven at all.

If something is chewing through the insulation, it's probably chewing on the wires as well.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:47 PM on December 13, 2017

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