What to Do If You Have a Dead Rodent in Your Ductwork

Even though it is common, it’s not a pleasant experience for homeowners to find a dead rat, mouse or other rodent in their ductwork.  You will often be left with a terrible smell, which is seeping through your entire home, and a mess to get rid of. While this type of situation is often better handled by a professional, here are some things you can do should a small animal die in your ductwork.

Track the Smell

Usually the first thing to alert you of a problem is when you pick up the scent of a decomposing animal which could have died almost anywhere in your home. The only way you can find out where is to simply follow the smell.

Once you have determined it is in your ductwork carefully remove the vent cover and look inside using a flashlight. You can proceed to remove the animal if you can see it. However, you may need to consider hiring a professional to search for and dispose of the animal, if you don’t see it.

Remove It

It is extremely difficult to find animals that die in nooks or dark corners, or sometimes even in the insulation. You will need to carefully remove it once you do find it. It is best to have a garbage bag, rubber gloves, paper towels, and disinfectant spray handy. If the animal is out of your reach, find something that can reach it and either lift it up or drag it closer to you. Once it has been removed, you need to thoroughly clean the whole area with disinfectant spray.

Seal the Entrance

After the animal has been removed and the area cleaned, your system and the ductwork should be thoroughly inspected to determine how the animal was able to enter the ductwork in the first place. This is important, not only to prevent another animal from getting in, but also to increase the energy efficiency of your system.  

Just to be sure there are no lingering odors, bacteria or viruses that may have been left behind, you may consider having your duct professionally cleaned.

When in Doubt, Hire a Professional

Though you may be able to rectify this issue on your own, hiring a professional to come in and assist you with this problem. To help you remove the animal and get rid of the smell you would need a pest control specialist, while the team at Kings Heating and Air Conditioning can inspect your ductwork and perform any necessary repairs to your system. Contact us today if you suspect a rodent has died in your HVAC system.


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