What's that smell? Dead mouse (or animal) smell in vents? Part II
When an unpleasant odor is coming from somewhere inside the house, many homeowners sometimes wrongfully jump to the conclusion that a dead mouse (or animal) is trapped somewhere in their ductwork - that's why it's important to check your drip pan and coils for buildup, and your ductwork for mold, before signaling the cavalry. But ... every so often, the worst does happen; and you have to figure out what to do when you find a dead mouse (or animal) in your ductwork.
Where's that smell?
Once you've exhausted the options above for where the foul smell could be coming from, then it's time to start your search. To locate the critter, start by following your nose to find where the smell is the strongest.
First, try to identify in which room the smell is the most potent. The dead mouse (or animal) may be in your ductwork, near the location of your furnace fan or return air, or under the house, even in your attic or basement.
If you can identify a single room, smell along the walls, floors, and along the ceiling, if possible. (Many animals choose to crawl under the floorboards and insulation in the attic.) Keep in mind that many times, even though the animal was running through the walls or ductwork that may not necessarily be where it died. Many animals crawl to spaces further back that are dark and undisturbed to pass away. You will know immediately when you find the spot where the animal is because the smell will most likely be overwhelming.
You found the smell - now what?
After you've located the source of the dead mouse (or animal) smell in your vent:
- Visit the the Department of Fish and Wildlife Service to get information about animal carcass removal from your local State Fish and Game Department.
- After the animal has been removed, call a professional air duct cleaning company to rid your ductwork of any debris that may be left behind.
More info? To learn how to remove a critter that's trapped in your dryer or bathroom vent, read our post: Bird's Nest Trapped in Dryer/Bathroom Vent? Here's What to Do.