What To Do When A Rodent Dies In Your Ductwork
WHAT is that smell?! Is it coming from your vents? You may want to check your ductwork to see if a rodent has died in there. It’s actually a common household problem.
You just haven’t thought of it. Well, we’re here to remind you that it’s something you’re going to want to check. We know that odor isn’t pleasant and we predict that you had issues finding the source.
It’s usually the unmistakable smell that first tips off homeowners to the possible presence of a decomposing animal. Sometimes the smell can be so strong that you might suspect the animal is in the ductwork when really it’s in an attic, basement or crawlspace. Check all of these spaces before you resort to having a professional check your ductwork for dead mice or rats. If you still believe that it’s in your ductwork, the smell may lead you to a specific HVAC vent in your house. If so, carefully remove the vent cover and use a flashlight to peer inside. If you can see the animal, you can proceed. But if you can’t see it but the smell gets stronger, it may be time to call animal control.
After locating the animal, you’ll need a garbage bag, rubber gloves, paper towels and disinfectant spray at a minimum. If the animal is out of reach, you may need other tools to reach it. This could be a long hose attachment on a vacuum cleaner or something as simple as a bent coat hanger – just as long as you can use it to bring the carcass within reach. Carefully use a gloved hand to deposit the animal in a plastic bag and immediately remove it from your home. DO NOT touch the animal without gloves. Contact your local waste disposal authorities to ask about policies involving the disposal of dead animals.
After the source of the smell is removed, thoroughly clean all areas touched by the carcass with disinfectant spray. This may be difficult if the animal was initially out of reach, but you may be able to use a small mop to clean the area. You can also schedule a professional duct cleaning which might be beneficial if you’re already traumatized by having to remove a dead animal from your ductwork. Keep in mind that you can always call the professionals to do this job.
Once the animal is removed and the area is cleaned, you should consider follow-up steps. If an animal was able to get into your ductwork, this is a high sign that there is a hole or leak in your system. A thorough inspection of your system and ductwork could reveal how the animal was able to enter your ductwork in the first place and is likely to uncover duct leaks that are also robbing you of energy efficiency. If your next system tune-up is still several weeks away, it’s a good idea to go ahead and schedule this inspection.