How to Get Dead Animals Out of Your Air Ducts

dead rodent inside an air duct vent

You may have started smelling a foul odor coming from your air vents or it sounds like rodents are living in your HVAC system. Small animals and rodents will often find their way into your home’s air ducts either through the exterior or interior of your home. Mice, birds, rats, and sometimes bats love to nest in your ductwork because it is warm and is a great breeding ground. 

Removing dead rodents from your furnace ducting is no simple task and oftentimes requires homeowners to hire professional pest control, HVAC, and/or air duct technicians to remove the vermin and odors. 

How to Determine Where the Dead Animal is Located in Your Ducts?

The first step to take to find a dead critter in your air ducts is to first identify the source of the odor by smelling each of your vent openings. If you believe the source of the smell is coming from a supply vent, then turn your furnace fan on to help pinpoint which duct the animal is located.

This will help move air past the dead and rotting carcass and concentrate the strongest smells in one of your vent’s openings. 

If the smell is coming from all of your heating and cooling ducts, then the vermin may be located near your furnace or in the large box shaped channels extending out from your furnace also known as your main trunk lines.

Best Way to Find the Smell of Your Dead Pest:

  1. Walk around your home and find the vent opening that has the worst smell.
  2. Remove vent covers and see if you can see anything dead or out of the ordinary.
  3. Shine a light or use your cell phone to take a picture inside the ducting.
  4. Open HVAC access points in the basement or crawlspace to see if you can find any other clues.
  5. Turn on your AC air conditioning unit or heat to see if the smell gets stronger in one location or the other if it is difficult to determine which parts of the house are affected.

Dead mouse being held by a man with a glove

Decide If You Can Remove the Critter on Your Own

Removing dead animals from your ductwork is not an easy job for most homeowners because the ducting is built into the walls, floors, and ceilings of your home. The ducting channels throughout your home like a large maze. 

If you are able to identify where the dead rodent is located and it seems like you can get to it safely, then make sure to use a bit of caution and common sense when dealing with a decomposing animal. Oftentimes, dead animals carry many diseases and bacteria, so it is wise to take some precautions.

  • Use rubber gloves when disposing of the animal.
  • Put the dead animal in a plastic bag.
  • Clean the affected area with bleach once the rodent is removed.
  • Dispose of the dead carcass and rubber gloves.

If you cannot find the dead mouse, squirrel, bat, or bird, then it’s time to call in the professionals. There are only a couple different types of companies to call to remove the pest. 

Hire a Professional to Remove the Animal From your Air Ducts

Removing rodents from your furnace ducting is no simple task and oftentimes requires homeowners to hire professional pest control, HVAC, and/or air duct technicians to remove the vermin and odors. When a rodent dies in your duct work it is usually in hard-to-reach places. These companies have the right tools and equipment to be able to identify, locate and remove the rodent from your home.

 Who to call when you have an animal in your vent?

  1. Air Duct Cleaners have all the right equipment and are generally the best suited for the job because they have cameras, an air compressor and powerful vacuums.
  2. HVAC technicians are the professionals that built your home’s ducting system and have the expertise to find the pest but may not have the right equipment to remove the animals.
  3. Pest Control companies may be able to help if the rodent is dead where they can easily access it. If it is out of their reach, they will not be able to help because they don’t carry the type of equipment air duct cleaners do.

Preventing Animals from Gaining Entry To Your Air Ducts

After you successfully find the dead animal in your air ducts and have it successfully removed, then it’s time to take the necessary steps to keep the wildlife out of your homes ducting once and for all by locating the entry points and sealing them up for good. Otherwise, you will have an ongoing problem.

  • Seal the ducting if you find any holes or easily accessible entrances for critters to get into it. Mice love to enter the ducting in the basements. Take a closer look at all your ductwork and patch up any holes larger than a dime. You can seal holes with duct plugs, foil tape or sheet metal scrap.
  • Check the exterior of your home for any signs of entry by animals. If you find any holes in the siding of your home, then have them repaired or plugged. You may want to contact your local pest control company for this. They often include an inspection of the exterior of your home and will plug any entry points up to prevent animals from gaining entry.
  • Make sure you have the best dryer vent cover installed so mice and birds cannot gain entry to your dryer vent.