What To Do If A Rodent Dies In Your Ductwork

image of rat in hvac ductworkHVAC ductwork can get fouled up by a whole lot more than just dirt and dust. Having a rodent enter these channels and cause problems is certainly not unheard of. One of the worst things that can happen is having a dead animal in air duct. As it starts to decompose, its decaying body will flood the house with a horrible stench. Dead animals can also carry many viruses and bacteria that will enter the air that’s being circulated throughout the living environment. For the well-being and health of everyone in the home, this is obviously a situation that cannot be left unchecked.

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How to Deal With a Dead Rodent In Your HVAC Ductwork

Following are several things that you’ll need to do if you’ve got a dead animal or rodent trapped in your heating and cooling air ducts:

Make Sure That What You’re Smelling Is Actually a Dead Rodent

image of a homeowner plugging nose due to dead animal in ductwork

The first thing that you need to do is to find out what the source of the foul smell is. This might be a dead rodent, but it can also be something other than a dead rat or mouse. Rotting bodies produce and emit foul-smelling gases such as methane and sulfur dioxide. Moreover, the human nose is generally very sensitive to these gases such that even small amounts are pretty easy to detect. They create a strong, rancid odor that can actually cause some people to throw up. The larger that an animal’s carcass is; the more gas that it’s going to produce as it rots. This foul, pervasive smell can persist for weeks until the carcass is completely dried out.

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Use Your Nose to Sniff the Problem Out

If you’re pretty sure that you’ve got a dead animal in your HVAC ductwork, you’ll want to locate and extract it right away. There are currently several instruments that are built to detect the gases produced by decomposing bodies, but these tools aren’t exactly practical for this job. Many homeowners simply use their noses to sniff dead animals out as they’re usually sufficiently sensitive. Determine where the smell is most potent. This activity isn’t a pleasant one, but it is important for solving the problem. If you aren’t up for this hunt, just hire an HVAC company to come and find the rodent and clear its body out of your HVAC ducts.

Collect All of the Necessary Supplies

image of latex gloves used to remove dead animal from hvac systemNever use your bare hands to touch a dead rodent. Dead rodents are known to carry diseases and many different types of bacteria and viruses on their carcasses. Make sure that you’ve got a good pair of gloves for protecting your hands while you extract the rodent. You also want a thick-walled plastic bag that’s been carefully inspected for holes. This is where the carcass will go before you seal it up and put it in the waste bin. Double-check for leaks before using this bag. For locations that are difficult for you to reach, have a wire hanger or another tool that’s long and hooked at one end. If this all seems too tedious or too gross for you, contact an HVAC company instead.

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Take the Dead Rodent Out of the HVAC Ducts

Extracting a dead rodent from your HVAC ducts could be straightforward and easy if the carcass happens to be right near a vent. Just open up the closest barrier or vent cover, reach your gloved hand in, grab the carcass, and then place it in your bag. The gloves that you wear should be disposable. You will need to put these in the bag too, along with the dead animal. Seal everything up and then put it in the dumpster or waste bin outside. However, if you cannot access the decomposing carcass from a vent or if you can’t see it, extracting the body is going to be much harder. Moreover, if the dead rodent is already severely decomposed, it will need to be extracted in a number of pieces. Whenever this is the case, calling a seasoned HVAC technician in is the best bet.

The Entire Area Must Be Thoroughly Disinfected

image of homeowner using disinfectant to clean HVAC ductworkExtracting the dead rodent is only the very start of these efforts. Dead animals usually leave behind dried blood and a variety of other body fluids. Fleas, ticks, and even fur can be present too. The entire area needs to be thoroughly sanitized to get the HVAC air ducts clean. You must spray disinfectant everywhere that the animal has gone. This is essential for preserving the indoor air quality and for making sure that harmful diseases aren’t being circulated by the HVAC system. It is always a very bad idea to skip this essential step.

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Learn How the Rodent Entered the Ductwork

image of hvac air vent

After you’ve cleaned the HVAC ducts sufficiently, start focusing on prevention so that the same problem does not occur in the future. It should not be possible for any rodent to enter your ductwork. There are multiple barriers that are meant to keep pests out.

So how did the rodent find its way into your ductwork? Does the ductwork have holes? Do you need to repair a damaged vent? Keep in mind that rodents sometimes die a good ways away from entry points after having wandered fruitlessly in search of a way out. The entire network of ducts should be searched for potential points of entry – and then these entry points should be sealed up. This is the only way to ensure that you don’t have to deal with this same problem again.

Remember that the best person for this part of the job is always going to be a licensed HVAC technician. HVAC technicians have trained eyes for detecting ductwork problems, and they also have the skills for resolving them. Thus, whenever you have damaged ductwork, contacting an HVAC company is the right choice.

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HVAC Ductwork Holes Must Be Plugged

image of hvac ductwork installation

If you really stop to consider it, ductwork holes aren’t just allowing pets to get inside of your ductwork – they’re also making it possible for conditioned air to seep out. Calling an HVAC company to plug holes in your ductwork will prevent additional air leaks. Leaky ducts lower the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment. As a result, your heating and cooling system has to work a lot harder and use more energy to create the desired conditions indoors. You may even have uneven temperatures throughout the building given that the farthest areas won’t be getting enough conditioned air. If your HVAC system is due for maintenance, call a trusted HVAC technician now.

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Rodent infestations are actually quite common. HVAC companies frequently receive service requests for extracting dead rodents from HVAC ducts and thus, you should never hesitate to seek this help if you need it. HVAC professionals can quickly deal with these problems. They’re also able to disinfect contaminated ductwork and seal up all possible entry points.

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You’ll always get the most competitive prices on heating and cooling services from Townsend Energy. Get better comfort, improved efficiency, and lower heating bills with our maintenance services today. If you want to have your HVAC system replaced or repaired, trust us to help you find the best systems and components for your needs and budget. All of the services we perform come backed by our satisfaction guarantee. To set up service, call Townsend Energy. We’ll provide you with an in-home estimate at absolutely no charge.

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