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How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Air Ducts and HVAC

March 24, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Mice are small rodents with very flexible skeletal systems that can wreak havoc on your home if left unchecked. Did you know that if a mouse’s head can fit into a very tight spot, the rest of its body structure lets it squeeze through easily? This means that mice can get inside your home through cracks in your foundation, doorframes, windows, and other seemingly-tight spaces. And when mice get in your home, it’s not uncommon for them to build nests in your ductwork and ventilation systems, giving them access to food and other necessities throughout your house.

Why do mice go in vents? 

Mice prefer to shelter in dark spaces where they can remain hidden, access food, and stay warm. Traveling through heating ducts and vents gives mice more opportunities to find food anywhere in your home or gain access to other apartments if you’re in a shared building or condominium unit. 

close up of a mouse eating grain

Can mice live in air vents?

Mice can live in air vents if they have access to food and water. Rodents eat nearly anything they can forage in your home, including grains, pet food, sugars, grease, and crumbs. 

How do you know if a mouse is in the vents?

You’ll know you have mice in heating vents because you’ll notice their odor and hear them moving around. Male mice mark their territory by urinating to leave their scents behind. Mouse urine contains pheromones that have a strong, distinct smell humans will quickly detect—especially when it comes through air vents.

What do mice sound like in vents?

When mice are in your vents, you’ll hear scratching, crawling, or scurrying on metal in the walls, ceilings, or floors where your ductwork is. You might also hear occasional squeaking noises.

What are the signs of mice in air ducts?

Signs of mice in air ducts include:

  • A distinctively repellent odor indicating mice urine or the decaying smell of a mouse that has died in your ductwork.
  • Sounds of mice scurrying or squeaking in areas where you have ductwork, especially at night
  • A buildup of debris inside vents from mice collecting scraps of paper and other items to build a nest.
  • Droppings inside heating ducts that cause an intense, musky odor. You might see mice excrement outside air vents as well.
  • Scratch marks along the length of a vent opening.

How to get rid of mice in air ducts and your HVAC 

It’s challenging to get rid of mice in venting and HVAC systems without help from a professional exterminating company. 

You can do some things to help prevent mice from getting into your house in the first place: 

  • Add door sweeps to the bottom of outside doorways to keep mice from squeezing underneath and inside. 
  • Place mesh screens on all vents and pipes outside to protect mice from entering. 
  • Seal up cracks and gaps in the foundation and around entryways, including windows.
  • Be diligent about cleaning up any crumbs, open food sources, or messes, and place food into airtight containers whenever possible. Seal up pet food as well.

One way exclusion tunnel and wire mesh installed to eliminate rodents

How do you get a mouse out of an air vent?

If you know you have a mouse living in an air vent, the best thing to do is to call for pest control services before the rodent damages wires, has babies, or dies in the ductwork, which leaves a particularly bad odor. Expert pest control companies know how to get mice out of your vents safely and efficiently. Getting rid of even one mouse is essential because more mice will likely come in and begin reproducing, eventually causing a large infestation.

How to get rid of mice smell in vents?

It’s best to ventilate your home as much as possible to eliminate the mice odor. Open all windows and screened doors and position a few fans to blow air toward the outside. 

If your ductwork leaks somewhere, the mouse odor might not go away until you have the ducts professionally cleaned and repaired. 

Placing coffee grounds or charcoal deodorizer bags in the ducts might also decrease the smell. 

Should I be worried if I find mice in my air vents? 

It is worrisome to have mice in your air vents, not only because of the foul odors, damage to structures, and noises, but also because mice can carry and transmit diseases and contaminate foods. Some mice can even be carriers of lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), an infectious viral disease. 

As mice scurry from your air ducts and through your house, they leave behind bits of urine, droppings, saliva, and nesting materials. These items can be infected with the virus and transmitted to people when they touch or brush against them. The disease can then introduce itself to the body through the nose, eyes, or broken skin.

Other diseases that mice can transmit include salmonellosis, leptospirosis, and monkeypox.

Pest control services 

If you suspect you have mice in your air ducts and HVAC system, it’s time to call Hawx Pest Control for a free estimate. Our friendly technicians will thoroughly inspect your home for evidence of a mouse infestation. Services for mice control may consist of reliable, modern bait stations, various types of traps, and sealant work to help prevent future infestations from occurring. Don’t wait for your infestation to worsen—contact us today to set up an appointment.

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