Awful Smell Coming From Heater Ducting

This is a page about getting rid of an awful smell coming from heater ducting. If you believe that the odor is being caused by a deceased rodent in the ducting, it is important to remove the source if possible and then try some of these ideas for combating any lingering odor.

4 Questions

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October 8, 2011

I think a rodent has died in my heating vents! The smell is horrible, and it is starting to get much worse. I first noticed it toward the kitchen, and then it started getting much worse, and now the smell is also spreading. It is awful. I am pretty sure it is in the heating vents. I've pretty much narrowed it down. I have tried to use the shop vac, with a long tube on it, and I was praying that by chance I would suck it up but no luck! I do not have the resources to go under the house, rip out the insulation, take all the vents off, and clean it out.

What can I do to get rid of the smell? The worst part of this is my poor daughter's rooms are right in the path of the stink. I use candles, sprays, and Plug Ins, but it is just not cutting it. It has been about 2 weeks, so I thought it would be getting better by now, not worse. I am guessing it is much bigger than a mouse, but I don't know. Please help.

By Audrey H.


October 10, 20112 found this helpful
Best Answer

I am a retired cleaning lady and have run across this more than once. I have seen rats die in walls, ducts, and in my own home, the attic. The smell is really awful, but it is temporary. It takes about two weeks to go away on its own.

In my own case I had a gap next to a vent fixed on my roof and apparently trapped some rats in my attic. I was able to tape off my range fan with plastic and duct tape and the smell went away. When I took the plastic down (two weeks later) it was gone. I assume there is a dried out rat corpse in my attic somewhere. One of my customers had a rat die in her wall with no way to get to it. It smelled wretched, but two weeks later there was no smell. The are businesses that will come in and clean your heating duct work (vacuum it all out).

I am not sure how much that would cost. I would give it a bit more time, and then call the duct cleaners. You could try plastic over the heating vents for a few more days. Good luck.

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October 11, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

This happened to me also, but my son took a "Wire Coat Hanger", bent a small hook on it, took a flashlight to see which vent was closes to the rodent. He then took the wire coat hanger and fed it into the vent until it reached the rodent. He then inserted the hook around or into its body and drug it to the vent he was working from. I hope this works for you,as it did for us. I didn't spend a cent on getting it out.

PS: We had to unscrew the screws that held the vent down.


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April 2, 20178 found this helpful
Best Answer

I also had a dead mouse in the walls some where in between a bedroom and bathroom. Bought all this fresh airbags off Amazon. Waste of money. Have been dealing with this going on 18 days. So i read a article about peppermint oil. I am here to tell you this is some awsome stuff. Put on cotton balls droped in closets,vents,windows and even put some in the air humitifier. Awsome job the smell is gone. And my place smells fresh. I even made candle warmers. Mice and other rodents hate the smell of peppermint so bought peppermint plants planted in all my flower beds. Made sachets with rice and pepermint oil to put under house to keep them out. You can also hang these in uour closets,garages and attics. Hope this is useful for all. All kinds of ideals on Pintrest. Good luck.

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April 3, 20172 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had been told to put coffee grounds in the vents, but need to add to my answer that I used coffee beans so there was not a chance of dust like particles coming back up from the vent. It works!

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October 14, 2018

I live in a house built in 1930. I purchased the house four years ago. Upon purchasing the house, I noticed that the house was quite comfortable during the winter with the furnace controlled at 68 degrees F. However, after we moved in I noticed a foul smell coming from the vents. I had learned then, that the house was unoccupied for several years prior to my purchase.

To make a long story short, whenever I used the HVAC system it smelled like dog or animal feces, basement, and old garbage. I implemented all of the quick fixes: vinegar, baking soda, fragrances, etc. I thought that if I replaced the entire HVAC system, the smell would go away. I replaced the entire system and the smell hasn't gone away, and the smell is driving me crazy!

Does anyone have any ideas of what is causing the basement smell to come into the home? Sometimes the odor smells like animal feces. What does anyone think about this? All ideas are welcomed. Thanks!


October 14, 20180 found this helpful

You may have an animal there that is living and defecating there. Examine more carefully

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October 14, 20180 found this helpful

We had something similar in the early 2000s and it was sewage gases being forced up through the basement drain and the stench was bad. The plumber put a camera into the lines and found the issue was caused by maple tree roots damaging sewer lines. It was an expensive fix but it got rid of the issue. Have a reputable plumber scope out the drain if you have one. Good luck!! Post back what you find!

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November 4, 20180 found this helpful

Ok first off you need a sprayer mix bleach and water spray basement wall all over I would say2xs a month kills smell,odor etc.

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November 4, 20180 found this helpful

Sprayer,bleach,water Mix water and bleach spray basement from top to bottom 2xs a month kills smell everything

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October 14, 2018

My step daughter began living with her grandma when her mom passed away. Grandma receives a Social Security check for her and her brothers and sisters.

My stepdaughter moved in with us at the beginning of July and her grandma keeps getting her Social Security check. Is that legal?


October 14, 20180 found this helpful

It would seem that you should be getting the check. This is a question for social security. Make an appointment and bring documentation to show that she lives with you and that you are paying her expenses.

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October 15, 20180 found this helpful

You should always ask Social Security questions at your local SSA office. This way you will know that you are receiving the correct answers as every case is different and they will have all the information to be able to answer your questions correctly.
Do not depend on any information you receive from friends or any online sites - go the SSA in person.

  • Undoubtedly the grandmother has legal papers stating she is the children's legal guardian. Usually this information will be decided through the court.
  • The legal guardian is the one that should be receiving the benefit check and until that is legally changed, the check will rightfully go to the grandmother.
  • Should she be keeping the check? No - she should be giving it to you until it is legally changed to go to you (if you are given legal guardian status). The check is supposed to be for her care and the grandmother most likely knows she should be giving the check to you but may not until you report it.
  • It is possible that if you and your stepdaughter go to the SSA together and report that she will be living with you from now on the SS may change the check immediately.
  • You are the one that will have to notify SS that your stepdaughter is now living with you.
  • The SS office personnel will tell you what you have to do in order to change the address on the benefit check.
  • Nothing will change until the new living arrangements are reported to the SS office.
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January 14, 2014

Once mice have been in residence in a house they can die in the walls and heating system, making them difficult to find. This page is about rodent odor in walls and vents.

Rodent Trap

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