While it’s common for homeowners to discover a rat, mouse or other small rodent has died in their ductwork, it’s not a pleasant experience. Often it will leave you with a horrible smell and mess to clean up. Even though the animal died in your ductwork, the smell will likely seep into your home and cause your entire house to smell.
In the event this happens in your home, you likely have two questions – where the smell is coming from and how can you get rid of it?
While it’s best to have this type of situation handled by a professional, here are some tips on things you can do in the event a small animal dies in your ductwork.
Track the Scent
The smell of the decomposing animal is usually the first thing that will alert you there is a problem. While noticing a smell can mean that an animal died in your basement, attic, crawlspace, or ductwork, the only way to determine where is to simply follow the scent.
If you have ruled out other areas or suspect that it’s in your ductwork you should carefully remove the vent cover and use a flashlight to look inside. If you can see the animal, you can proceed with removing it. However, if you don’t see it right away, you may need to consider hiring a professional to search for a dispose of the animal.
Get It Out
Animals often crawl into nooks or dark corners, or even into the insulation to die, making it incredibly difficult to find. Once you have found it, you will need to remove it carefully. Gather supplies like a garbage bag, rubber gloves, paper towels, and disinfectant spray. If the animal is out of your reach, you may need other tools to reach it, anything that can drag it closer to you, or lift it up.
Once it has been found and the source of the smell has been removed, you should thoroughly disinfect the area to get rid of the smell and clean the area. Be sure to clean any areas that were touched by the carcass with disinfectant spray.
Plug the Leak
Once the animal is removed and the area has been cleaned, you should consider taking follow-up steps. One thing you should do is have a thorough inspection of your system and ductwork performed to learn how the animal was able to enter your ductwork in the first place. It’s important to find them to prevent another animal from getting into the ductwork, and also to increase the energy efficiency of your system.
You may also want to consider have your duct professionally cleaned. This will help get rid of any lingering odors and give you peace of mind about bacteria or viruses that may have been left behind.
When in Doubt, Hire a Professional
Though this is an issue you may be able to rectify on your own, you can see why it would be helpful and even necessary to hire a professional to come in an assist you with this issue. A pest control specialist can help you remove the animal and get rid of the smell, while the team at NJ Air Pros can inspect your ductwork and make any necessary repairs to your system. If you suspect a rodent has died in your HVAC system, contact us today.