When Critters Die in Your Air Ducts

dead rodent on white background: Gagne Maintenance blog

Imagine enjoying the cool temperatures of your air-conditioned home when suddenly you smell a nauseating stench. You may think, “It smells like something dead in here!”

Unfortunately, this may not be a far-fetched thought.

Rodents and other animals often crawl under homes, into attics and even through air ducts for exploration, to escape the heat or for a final resting place as they die. While you may never notice a dead critter under your house, the creatures that find their way into the air ducts of your air conditioning system can cause quite a stink when they die and begin to rot.

So what do you do about it?

  • Locate the carcass. This can be the toughest part of the process. Follow your nose to the area with the strongest smell. If you are unable to locate it, you may need a professional technician to come to your home to find the source of the stench for you.

  • Remove the animal. If you’re able to locate the carcass, equip yourself with gloves and a garbage bag. Do not touch the creature with bare hands as rodents often carry germs and diseases.

  • Dispose of the carcass. Check with your city officials to find out if there are rules on disposing of animal carcasses that differ from normal garbage disposal.

  • Clean the area. When an animal dies, its body may begin to fall apart or leak fluids. Ensure that every bit of the carcass is cleaned and wiped up. Otherwise, the smell won’t be eliminated.

  • Disinfect. After the body is removed, disinfect the entire area. Rodents have incredibly poor hygiene, so sanitizing the ductwork is extremely important. The EPA gives some guidelines regarding effectively cleaning ductwork.

If you are unable to clean the ducts yourself, call the Alpharetta experts at Gagne to help you locate the creature, remove it and get your home smelling fresh again.

To learn more troubleshooting tips about air ducts, read our blog post: 5 Common Problems with Air Ducts.