Pests like rats enjoy breaking into your home, especially during severe weather when they’re looking for sanctuary. Sadly, once inside, they seek sanctuary in your ductwork where they create a variety of issues.
Rodents can gnaw on almost anything, including various AC parts. They can damage the performance of your HVAC system by chewing on the air ducts and any insulation covering them.
Additionally, these pests are harmful to your health. Rodents carry dangerous bacteria and can spread illnesses like the hantavirus. Additionally, the ductwork will become contaminated and unable to circulate fresh air, lowering the quality of the air within your home.
When rodents live in your ductwork, it can be extremely frustrating. Here’s how to solve this problem, from getting rid of bugs to creating rodent-proof ducting.
Five Signs That There Are Mice In Your Ductwork
Rodents can infiltrate through attics and crawl spaces. They can also enter your home through openings and crevices near gas connections, chimneys, electrical wires, and indoor fireplaces. Once inside, they are typically located in basements, closets, and attics.
You will notice the following warning signals if rodents are living in your house:
1. Noises Of Crawling And Gnawing
Your attic and ductwork are being invaded by rats and mice, who make noises when they move. Rodents will also be heard chewing on your ductwork, especially at night, which can make it difficult for you to sleep.
2. Putrid Smell
The foul stench is one of the biggest indicators that rodents are living in your ductwork. This smell can be spread by dead insects that rodents eat and by rat droppings. The conditioned air is then circulated throughout the entire home by air ducts, spreading the odor.
3. Infestation Of Insects
Rodents are present if you suddenly start to notice an infestation of insects, especially beetles and moths, surrounding your vents.
4. Symptoms Of Allergies Growing
Mice in heat pumps can bring in a variety of pathogens that can spread throughout your home, lowering the quality of the air within. You may experience an increase in allergy symptoms and other respiratory problems as a result.
5. The Traces
As they wander around, rodents will leave bite and track marks in your ductwork and vents. These traces indicate that they are residing within your home.
How To Make Your Ductwork Rodent-Proof
Immediately once it is determined that there are mice in your AC ducts, you should begin taking action. After that, to avoid this issue in the future, you should also take steps to rodent-proof your ductwork.
Items You’ll Need
- Mouse trap
- Bait (bacon, cheese, peanut butter)
- Throwaway plastic bags
- Soap with antibiotics
- Narrow wire mesh
- Upright louvers
- Cover for air vents and flues
1. Eliminating Rodents
Rats can be difficult to get rid of, but with mice traps strategically placed, they can be deterred.
- Turning off your HVAC system and allowing it to finish cooling entirely is the first step.
- Remove vent covers and place cheese or peanut butter in mice traps to draw mice.
- After that, insert the traps into each vent’s duct.
- Regularly check the traps both at night and in the morning.
- Put the deceased animals in plastic bags if you discover them. Throughout the process, be careful to wear gloves.
- Take off your gloves at this point, then wash your hands with antibacterial soap.
- Once you’re certain that all rodents have been caught, repeat this process.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t use pesticides or pest poison because it can be difficult to find dead rats in ducting. Additionally, the herbicide may circulate through your ducts and affect your allergies.
2. Seal All points Of Entry
You should start by identifying all entry locations and caulking them up in order to stop this inconvenience and reduce energy use.
If the protective screen has holes and breaks, rats can get inside through the intake vents and external air vents. If not adequately insulated, attics and crawl spaces are also relatively simple for rodents to reach.
For gaps between the duct and wall, check your roof and air vents. To prevent mice from entering air ducts, cover these openings with wire mesh. Fill up any gaps and cracks near pipes, walls, fireplaces, door and window frames, and roof rafters.
Seal any further holes you locate where rodents could enter with mesh. The comprehensive guide on attic insulation is available here. Insulating your attic is also crucial.
3. Sanitize The Ducts
Since rodents were residing in the ductwork, you must clean your ducts to get rid of any leftovers. You ought to get a pro to perform a complete cleaning. DIY projects should not be attempted. You will make the situation worse if you attempt to vacuum it on your own. Instead of getting rid of impurities like mildew, germs, and mouse dander, vacuuming simply moves them about. Additionally, you would breathe in all those particles every time you turned on the appliance. Sounds frightening, huh?
So it’s best to leave this to an expert. They employ machinery and gear made specifically for cleaning out air ducts of junk. They use biocides as well to eradicate microorganisms.
4. Fixing And Sealing The Ductwork
Rodents have the ability to gnaw on wires, insulation, and air ducts. Rats, birds, and other insects can be effectively prevented from entering your ducting and harming your appliance by sealing it. Your heating and cooling system will operate more effectively because the airflow problems are also resolved.
You can either hire a specialist or examine the ductwork yourself. The entire ducting may need to be replaced if there is extensive damage.
When sealing the ducts by yourself, use a flashlight to check for any obvious cracks or holes. Place your hand over the ducting to feel for air leaks in holes that are not readily apparent.
Seal longitudinal seams with foil tape after locating air leaks. Remember that it is a short-term fix that will eventually wear off. Utilizing a duct sealant is a preferable choice. Using a paintbrush or putty knife, you fill the holes and gaps with it, and as it dries, it hardens. Insulation is necessary to completely seal your ducting. Fiberglass insulation in the form of foil can be used; simply wrap it around the duct and tape it shut.
Additionally, make sure that all connections at registers and vents are securely sealed where they touch the walls, ceiling, and floors.
5. Shield The Vents
To rodent-proof your ducting, cover and shield air vents. Install covers for the chimney and the air vents to stop the ingress. Make sure vent covers are installed firmly since little rodents could get inside by tugging the lid.
In addition, vertical louvers can be used to cover air vent grilles to stop animals from building nests near ducts and vents. Rodents can also be kept out with the use of mesh or specific screens.
6. Concentrate On The Maintenance Of Your HVAC
Future rodent infestation can be avoided by performing routine HVAC maintenance.
Clean up the space around your outside HVAC system. To stop rats and other creatures from settling in and constructing a nest near your air conditioner, trim any plants. Cut the long tree branches as well since rodents can enter your attic by travelling along them. Dry out the area around the outside air conditioner. Keep rainwater from collecting in puddles close to the system. Rodents and other animals may be drawn to standing or dripping water.
Once a year, you should have a professional inspect your air conditioner. They will check the vents and ductwork for any pest activity and promptly remove it.
It might be difficult to keep animals like rodents out of your HVAC system, but with the aid of this helpful guide, you can quickly rodent-proof your ductwork and maintain the ideal temperature in your home by maintaining your HVAC systems in top condition.