image of rat in hvac ductworkDust and dirt accumulation is not the only thing you should worry about in your HVAC air ducts. Rodents could sometimes make their way through your HVAC ductwork and cause a myriad of problems. The most problematic is when they die, and you have a dead animal in air duct, your home’s air channels. When these dead animals’ bodies decompose, the foul smell could circulate throughout your house. They might also be carriers of viruses and bacteria that could end up mixing with the air you breathe inside your home. This situation should not be allowed to persist as it can be detrimental to your health and well-being.

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What To Do About A Dead Animal In Your HVAC Air Duct

Some of the things you can do when you think a rodent died in your ducts are:

Determine If The Smell In Your HVAC System Is Actually A Dead Animal

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Find out what the unpleasant smell is. It could be caused by a lot of things, including a dead rodent. The rat’s decomposing body would emit gases like methane and sulfur dioxide. Our noses are sensitive to such smells, and even a tiny amount is easily detected. The foul smell could even be enough to cause some people to vomit. If it is a bigger animal, more gases will be produced, and the smell could become more unbearable. The smell could linger for a few weeks until the body dries out.

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Follow Your Nose

When you are pretty sure that a dead animal is stuck in your ducts, find it right away so you can remove it. You can buy some tools to help you in detecting the gases emitted by the decomposing body. However, it is impractical to purchase them. Most people can depend on their sensitive noses to help in finding the carcass. Sniff around your house to determine where the rotten smell is the strongest. If you cannot bear through this task, hire your local trusted HVAC contractor to help you clear the ducts of any animal carcasses.

Gather Supplies

image of latex gloves used to remove dead animal from hvac systemNever use your bare hands when handling a dead animal. Their bodies could be carrying diseases with an unknown number of bacteria and viruses. Prepare gloves that will protect your hands when conducting the body extraction. You should also prepare a durable plastic bag. Make sure that there are no holes as you will be putting the dead rodent inside it. Seal it properly before disposal. If the rodent is in a hard-to-reach place, you might need to use a wire hanger or a long pole with a hook to extract the carcass. If extraction is too difficult, it is best to let a professional HVAC technician handle it for you.

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Remove The Carcass From Your HVAC Duct

The extraction should be an easy one if the dead body is near the vents. All you need to do is open the barrier, reach for the body with your gloved hand, and put it inside the plastic bag. Ensure that you have disposable gloves on so that you can easily dispose of them as well. If the body is not easily reachable or visible from any openings, you might have difficulty with the extraction. Use a wire hanger to help you. If the body is already in the advanced stages of decomposition, you might find yourself extracting multiple small pieces before getting them all. A situation like this is best left in the hands of an HVAC expert.

Disinfect The Area

image of homeowner using disinfectant to clean HVAC ductworkThe process does not end with the extraction of the body. The dead animal most likely left dried blood and bodily fluids in your vents. There could also be hair, ticks, and fleas. Therefore, you will need to sanitize the ductwork to ensure everything is clean. Spray disinfectant along the ducts as much as possible because we do not know where the rodent might have traveled through. This way, healthy indoor air quality is maintained, and you do not allow diseases to spread throughout your home via your HVAC system. Make sure not to skip this essential step.

Find Out How The Animal Got Into Your HVAC Ductwork

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Once the duct cleaning is finished, the next step is to ensure the same thing does not happen again. Rodents and other small animals should not be able to get inside your ductwork. The barriers prevent them from doing so. Therefore, you have to determine how they were able to get inside. Check if there are holes across the ducts or if there is a broken vent. Look through the entire ductwork to see if you can find any way an animal can get in.

Keep in mind that it is always best to let an HVAC contractor conduct this task. They are trained and experienced to find any problem in the ducts. They also know how best to repair them. Get in touch with an HVAC company to help you fix any issues with your HVAC ductwork.

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Seal The Holes

Any hole across the ductwork is not only an entryway for pests. These are also a way where air can leak through. Therefore, it is a must to seal these holes to prevent air from leaking any further. Leakages significantly reduce your HVAC’s efficiency. It leads to your HVAC system using more power to compensate for the air lost through the leakage. When this happens, your energy bills could spike up, but you’ll still feel uncomfortable around your house. There could be uneven heating or cooling where the farthest rooms from the system are not getting enough conditioned air. If you haven’t had your system maintained yet, now is a good time to call your local, trusted technician to do so.

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Conclusion

Pest infestation in your ductwork is a common occurrence. HVAC technicians receive a lot of calls to extract dead animals from the ducts, so do not hesitate to ask for help when you find yourself in the same situation. A professional can quickly solve the problem, so you do not have to deal with the foul smell any longer.

Let R.F. Ohl Handle Your HVAC Needs

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When you need high-quality HVAC services in the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley, do not hesitate to call R.F. Ohl. Our heating and cooling technicians are highly trained, professional, and have a track record for delivering conduct excellent HVAC services. All our techs are knowledgeable and experienced in performing maintenance, repairs, replacements, and installations on any HVAC system correctly.

R.F. Ohl offers highly affordable and competitive HVAC service costs in the area. Rest assured, our tune-ups can enhance home comfort and energy efficiency while reducing your home HVAC bills. We can also find the best repair and replacement solution that fits your home’s needs and budget. We back all our services with a guarantee. Schedule a service appointment with R.F. Ohl today for a free, in-home estimate.

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