When we started up the air conditioner this year, the whole house filled with the smell of dead mice. It was definitely coming from the supply vents. Since the outdoor temperature was up to 86 degrees with excessive humidity, I was reluctant to shut the cooling system down. I kept expecting the smell to dissipate. It just seemed to get stronger. Eventually, I couldn’t stand it. My whole family was complaining about the odor and it was giving me a terrible headache. I quit running the air conditioner and opened up all of the windows.
I sprayed room deodorizer and lit scented candles. The house heated up very quickly. We tried running a few box fans but there was no way to get relief without the air conditioner. I waited until right when we were all headed to bed for the night and then closed the windows and started the air conditioner. Once again, that horribly stink took over the house. When it was still holding strong in the morning, I finally called an HVAC contractor for assistance. As soon as the technician arrived and got a whiff of the house, he decided to inspect the ductwork. He discovered that a family of mice had infested the ducts over the winter. They’d carried poison into the system and died in there. Every time the cooling system cycled on, it was picking up contaminants from inside the ducts and spreading them throughout the house.
My family was breathing in dust, mold spores and all sorts of allergens. Fortunately, the problem was nothing that a professional duct cleaning couldn’t resolve. The process took a little over an hour. The technician used a machine with a long hose and brush attachment. The brush scrubs the interior of the ducts, dislodging stubborn bacteria that then gets sucked up into the hose.