help a small animal died in my ductwork

Something smells. And not just a slight, strange odor. Really, really smells.

You’ve been pulling things out of closets, cabinets, and shelves for days. Days! But you still haven’t found the source of the stench.

Then it hits you. Right when you curl up on the couch at the end of a long day and wait on your HVAC system to kick in and make things more comfortable…

That smell. There it is again, and it’s even stronger.

You sniff a little more towards your vents and it’s unmistakable. That’s where the odor is coming from.

It smells like something crawled up in your ductwork and died.

Now what do you do? How do you get it out? Who do you call?

Before panic totally sets in, let’s take a few deep breaths and learn more about this stinky problem.

Is It Really a Dead Animal in Your Vents?

Before we continue discussing animals in your vents, let’s take a moment and check a few things to make sure the odor isn’t caused by something else.

Check Your Drip Pan and HVAC Coils

Mold in your drip pan and microbial decay on your HVAC coils can both cause odors that could be mistaken as something dead. Check your drip pan for any signs of mold or standing water. If you see water, it could be caused by a blockage in your condensate drain line and that is enough to cause the odor. Call us to replace the line so you can breathe easy again (literally).

If you suspect the coils are the problem, you’ll want to have them professionally cleaned.

Did You Hear Something?

Try and think back a week or two before you started noticing the odor. Do you remember hearing strange, unexplained noises? Maybe it sounded like something was walking or tapping but you couldn’t determine the source.

If you heard strange noises and a couple weeks later start smelling the stench – it’s VERY likely an animal died in your ductwork.

This may leave you wondering how do animals get in your air ducts anyway? Usually they find an opening and crawl in. This opening could be under your house or anywhere, and it’s something our professionals can check for when we do our 20-Point A/C Inspection.

So now that you’ve taken the time to rule out other options and are pretty sure you have a dead animal in your vents, how did you get it out?

Dead Animal in Vent Removal

To remove the dead animal in your ducts, you’ll have to locate it. You can (hopefully) do this by smelling around your home. Is there a room where the odor is stronger? If so, smell the air vents in that room. Once you decide which vent has the strongest odor, you can remove the vent and use a flashlight to look inside.

Hopefully, it’s something small like a simple mouse. With a mouse in ductwork, you should be able to easily remove it. If it’s a larger animal and it’s out of reach, you may want to use a vacuum with an extension wand to bring it closer to you so you can reach and it remove it.

Call the Department of Fish and Wildlife Service to find out what you need to do to dispose of the carcass appropriately.

If you’re not comfortable removing the dead animal, can’t reach it, or can’t find it, call a pest removal service in your area and they’ll take care of it.

Finish the Job – Have Your HVAC System Cleaned

Now that you’ve got the dead animal out of your ductwork, it’s time to clean and sanitize your system so your house smells good again and your family doesn’t get sick.

Contact us today to schedule service and get your HVAC system inspected and cleaned so that horrible odor becomes a thing of the past.