What You Do When A Rodent Dies In Your Ductwork

Even though it’s a terrifying thought, rodents die in your ductwork. We receive several calls a week in the Reno / Sparks area to repair ducts damaged by rodents.

A rat, mouse, or other small rodent makes the mistake of getting trapped in the ducts only to die and leave you with the mess and the smell. Often, to escape, they cause damage.

There will be no doubts or question on IF there is a dead rodent. The real question is where that smell is coming from and how can you get rid of it?

rodent dies ductwork

Unfortunately, when some rodent dies in the ductwork of your home, the foul smell spreads throughout the entire area.

While just the thought is unpleasant, the underlying reason you have that horrible odor is not always simple to remove.

The following are the details of what you do when a rodent dies in your ductwork.

Before you take on this endeavor, know that a job like this is best outsourced to a professional.

Some HVAC companies would prefer you contact animal or pest control, but we are happy to do the job.


Tracking the Scent When a Rodent Dies in your Ductwork

As you can imagine, the smell that comes from a decaying rodent will be strong.  It’s typically the smell that alerts homeowners that there may be something dead somewhere in the home. Often the smell is so strong that you think it’s coming from the ducts when in fact it’s in the attic, crawlspace, or basement.

When rodents make your home their final place to rest, finding where is often the biggest challenge. Usually, rodents will crawl back into nooks, crannies, dark corners or in insulation to die. The challenge is finding your deceased rodent to give it a proper burial.

Once you locate the rodent, you should disinfect the area to rid your home of that horrific smell. Unfortunately, to find the source, you are going to have to use your nose. You may get lucky and narrow down the smell to a particular vent in the home.

If so, remove the vent cover and peek inside using a flashlight to see all around. If you see the dead carcass, then you can move on to the next phase of removing the animal and cleaning the area.

But, if sniffing and searching delivers smells but no source, you may require a professional to help with finding and eliminating the rodent from the ducts.  Keep in mind that the area where you have heard running sounds is usually not going to be where a rodent dies.

You should know when you find the area where the animal is because of the smell. Most likely it will be overwhelming. The stench of a rotting carcass will seep through boards, sheetrock, etc. which is why locating the area of the rodent shouldn’t be hard.

How to Remove and Disinfect an Area Where a Rodent Dies in Your Duct Work

Once you’ve found the area where the dead rodent is, it’s time to remove the remains and disinfect the area. There are a few items you will need to get the job done. These are gloves, a garbage bag, paper towels, and disinfectant spray.

If the rodent is out of your reach, you may have to rely on other tools to reach the location. That could range from a vacuum hose to something as simple as a wire clothes hanger.

Once you have pulled the decaying rodent within reach, use your gloved hand to place it in the plastic garbage bag. Depending on how long the dead animal has been in the ducts, you may have several pieces to remove.

Immediately throw the garbage bag away. Once you have the rodent removed, you need to thoroughly clean and disinfect the area. If the area is too far from your reach, try to use a mop to clean and disinfect.

Once the source of the odor is gone and the area is properly clean and disinfected, the smell through your home should go away.

Locate and Patch the Entry Point After You Remove the Rodent

patching duct entrance tool

Now that the rodent is gone and the area clean and disinfected you should do a couple more things. First, you will want to inspect your unit and the ductwork to see how and where the rodent was able to make entry into your home in the beginning.

You may very well discover that you have leaks in the ductwork meaning you are losing heat and cold air. That is one reason why it is usually best to let your HVAC technician remove the rodent in the first place to find and make the necessary repairs.

However, if you are weeks, even months away from your annual inspection, you should go ahead and contact us to check your ducts.

When you have a professional take care of cleaning your ducts, they will clean, scrub, and disinfect the area affected by the dead rodent. That is, in reality, the best way to handle this type situation to have your area free from harmful bacteria.

Conclusion, Hire a professional

As you can see the removal, cleaning and disinfecting after a rodent’s death happens in your ductwork is not pleasant. There is nothing fun about reversing the damage.

If you have a dead smell coming from your vents, a rodent is most likely the culprit.

All Hours Air is the team to call to rectify the entire situation, including cleaning your ducts. So if you find yourself in this situation, give us a call before or after removal, and we will get your home as it once used to be.

This entry was posted in Duct Cleaning, HVAC DIY. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.