Steps To Take When You Have A Dead Rodent In Your HVAC Ductwork

rodent in hvac ductwork

Dust, dirt, and other fine particulates are not the only materials that can find their way into your ductwork. It’s also possible for rodent populations to enter these passageways and cause problems for homeowners. One of the worst things that can happen is to have a dead animal in air duct. Rodents can start decomposing and emitting foul and pervasive odors that permeate the entire home. There are even times when they carry things like bacteria and viruses that also mix with the indoor air. This is an issue that should obviously be tended to right away given that it can affect the health and well-being of the entire family.

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What Do To About A Dead Rodent In Your HVAC Ductwork

The following are several tips on how to deal with a dead rodent in your HVAC ductwork.

Determine Whether The Foul Smell In Your Ductwork Is Actually The Result Of A Dead Animal

image of person plugging nose due to dead animal in hvac air duct

To start, you have to positively identify the source of the foul odor that you’re smelling. This might be a dead mouse or another rodent, or it could be something else entirely. A rotting body will produce gases like sulfur dioxide and methane due to natural decomposition. Sadly, the human nose can be incredibly sensitive to these gases, and thus, even a very small amount will be noticeable.

This particular odor is a very strong and rancid one that often causes people to gag or vomit. The larger that the dead animal is; the more gases that the decomposing carcass will invariably produce. The smell can actually last for several weeks until the body is fully dried out.

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Use Your Nose To Guide You

If you’re pretty sure that there’s a dead and decomposing rodent in your HVAC ducts, you should find and extract it right away. Certain instruments can be used to detect the specific types of gases that carcasses emit, but these tools are impractical for most to acquire and use in situations such as this. Many people are able to rely on their noses, which tend to be sufficiently effective for the job. Identify the place where the smell is most powerful.

This is not a fun job, but it will help you solve your problem pretty fast. If you cannot bear this type of search, think about hiring a trusted HVAC company to remove any dead rodent or rodents from your ductwork.

Get Your Supplies Together

image of rubber gloves used to remove dead animal from hvac systemIt is important to avoid touching any dead rodent with bare hands. This animal may be carrying a disease or have various forms of bacteria and viruses around its carcass. As such, make sure that you have a good pair of gloves for protecting your hands when you take the rodent out. You will also need a thick, plastic bag that has absolutely no holes in it. The carcass will be placed in the bag and sealed before discarding it. Check to ensure that the bag has no leaks. For spaces that are difficult to reach, have a long hook, a wire hanger, or another long tool on hand. Again, if this all seems too much to handle, call an HVAC company in.

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Take The Dead Rodent Out Of Your HVAC Duct

If the dead rodent is located fairly close to an air vent, removing the carcass should be fairly straightforward. Just open up the barrier, use a gloved hand to reach in, and then place the animal’s body within your plastic bag. Be sure to have your disposable gloves on as you definitely don’t want to touch the carcass with your bare skin. Put these gloves into the bags also. Seal everything up and discard everything immediately.

Keep in mind, however, that the process will be much more complex if you cannot see the rodent or reach it from one of these access points. You can reach deeper into the duct system with your wire hanger or another long tool. If the body has decomposed significantly, it may be necessary to take it out in several pieces before the extraction is done. When this is the case, the job is best completed by a qualified HVAC professional.

Use Disinfectant To Clean The Area

disinfecting the area of rodent in air duct

Taking the offending carcass out is only one small step in this process. The dead rodent has likely left dried blood and many other fluids of decomposition in the space. Fleas, hair, and even ticks may be in the ductwork as well. Everything will have to be cleaned and sanitized to restore the ducts to a safe condition. You will need to spray disinfectant in all of the areas in which the rodent has traveled. This is important for protecting the quality of your indoor air and for ensuring that your HVAC ductwork will not spread any illness or disease. Under no circumstances should this critical step be skipped.

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Find Out How The Rodent Entered Your HVAC Ducts

hands over air conditioner vents

Once you’re satisfied with your duct cleaning efforts, you should start looking at preventing a similar problem from occurring in the future. It should not be possible for a rodent or any other animal to enter your HVAC ducts. There must be barriers in place for keeping them out.

So, how was a rodent able to get inside? Does your ductwork have any holes? Do you need to fix a broken vent? It may be that the rodent died a significant ways away from the entry point after having wandered about in search of a way back out. Check for entry points throughout the entirety of the HVAC network and seal these up whenever you find them. This will ensure that you never have to deal with this problem again. You should note that the best person to handle this job is a seasoned HVAC technician. HVAC professionals are trained to spot issues with HVAC ductwork and they have the skills for correcting these problems safely and effectively. Thus, it is best to contact an HVAC company to deal with damaged ductwork issues like this one.

All Holes Should Be Plugged

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Holes in your ductwork won’t just allow rodent populations; they are also responsible for air leaks. To prevent further air leakage, hire an HVAC technician to find and plug all holes. Leaky HVAC ducts reduce the efficiency of your entire HVAC system. Your air conditioner and heater will have to use more energy to reach the desired temperature and maintain it. You can also have hot and cold spots throughout the home, and conditioned air will have a difficult time reaching remote areas. If it’s time to have general HVAC maintenance performed, then it’s probably time to schedule an HVAC service appointment.

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Rodent infestations are actually quite common. HVAC companies are frequently called to remove dead rodents from ducts, so be sure to ask for qualified help when dealing with this issue. Your provider can get rid of the problem quickly. Moreover, a professional will properly disinfect the entire area and seal up all gaps and other entry points to prevent the problem from recurring.


Call Lawes Company When HVAC Problems Arise

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Jersey Shore residents can always count on Lawes Company for superior HVAC solutions. Our certified technicians are capable of providing reliable and effective HVAC installations, repairs, tune-up services, and system replacements. They are knowledgeable and able to correctly meet your HVAC system needs.

Lawes Company proudly offers some of the most competitive prices on heating and cooling services locally. Our maintenance work can ensure higher levels of home comfort, greater efficiency, and lower cooling and heating costs. If your HVAC system needs a repair or if you need to replace your entire HVAC setup, we will help you find the right products for your needs and your spending abilities. Best of all, all of the work we perform will come backed by our solid satisfaction guarantee. To set up an appointment for service in your home, contact Lawes Company right now. Our on-site estimates are always free.

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