What’s That Smell? Handling Dead Rodents in the Ductwork

What’s That Smell? Handling Dead Rodents in the Ductwork

What's That Smell? Handling Dead Rodents in the DuctworkA dead rodent somewhere inside your clean ductwork has a definite effect on indoor air quality. First of all, the odor quickly becomes hard to ignore. Then, there’s the uncomfortable knowledge that you and your family may be breathing air potentially contaminated by bacteria from the decomposing remains.


Rodents and other small animals are often attracted to the warm, sheltered environment inside HVAC ductwork. To restore confidence in your indoor air quality as well as return clean ductwork to an uncontaminated condition, professional expertise is usually required to remove the dead rodent, then seal the opening where it got in.

Here are the usual steps.

  • Finding the body. Finding and removing a dead rat somewhere deep inside the recesses of ductwork is problematic for the average homeowner. Most of the interconnected spans of household ducts are not easily accessible. Since ductwork intrusion by rodents and other pests isn’t an unusual event in our business, however, a qualified HVAC service tech has the expertise to access ductwork and identify the most likely areas where a rodent might be located.
  • Cleaning up the scene. Bacteria and other pathogens are typically associated with decomposing rodents. Safety measures such as rubber gloves and a breathing mask are basic equipment to do the job. After the remains are removed, the immediate area inside the ducts needs to be sanitized with disinfectant to eliminate residual contamination.
  • Preventing recurrence. If one rat successfully gained access to your ducts, there’s a good chance another will, too. The next step is finding and fixing the point of entry. It might be a disconnected duct joint, holes due to rust or corrosion or some area where a rodent has gnawed through sealing tape or other material. Once a professional technician has located and closed that air leak, not only will you enjoy rodent-free heating and cooling, your system will actually perform better and more efficiently.

For professional service to remove a dead rodent and restore clean ductwork and healthy indoor air quality, contact Powers Heating & Air.


Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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