How to remove a rodent from your HVAC ductwork

What’s worse than a mouse in your house? A dead rodent in your HVAC ductwork.

It’s a common problem that many homeowners will face at some point – a mouse, rat, or some other small creature has died in your HVAC ductwork. The carcass trapped in your ductwork may be spreading an awful odor throughout your home.

The good news – It’s a pretty easy process to get rid of the animal (and the smell).

Before you go off on your own and attempt to find and remove the animal yourself, know that a professional HVAC service like A-Abel can get the job done quickly, effectively, and affordably.

If you chose to try to do it on your own, here’s a few tips to help you safely remove the rodent.

Locate the smell

It’s usually the potent stench that tips off homeowners that something is wrong. Sometimes the odor is so strong that you might assume the animal is in the ductwork, when in reality it’s located in your basement, attic, or a crawl space. To find the source of the smell, you’ll need to rely on your nose.

If the smell takes you to an HVAC vent in your home, carefully remove the vent cover and use a flashlight to look inside. If you can see the animal, carefully remove it. However, if you find the smell leads you to your vent but you can’t see the animal inside, you may need to call a professional HVAC service to locate and properly remove the animal (to prevent damaging your HVAC unit and ductwork).

Remove it

When the animal’s been located, you should attempt to remove it as carefully as possible. Prep yourself with a garbage bag, disposable gloves, paper towels, and disinfectant spray. If the animal is just out of reach, consider using other tools to reach it. A bent wire coat hanger or a hose attachment on a vacuum can work.

Using a gloved hand, reach into your HVAC unit and grab the carcass. Carefully place it into the garbage bag and immediately get it out of your home.

After removing the animal, thoroughly clean the areas around where the carcass was touching with disinfectant and paper towels. If the spot is out of reach, use a small mop to try and clean the area.

Inspection for prevention

You should inspect your system and ductwork after removing the animal to figure out how the critter was able to crawl into your ductwork. You may find a duct leak that is not only letting in pests. A duct leak could be costing you by making your HVAC system less energy efficient.

If you need help repairing your HVAC system ductwork or you’d like a professional duct cleaning to ensure your air quality isn’t being affected (and to ensure there’s no remaining odors or bacteria lingering in your ductwork following the animal removal), consider contacting an expert HVAC technician like A-Abel.