mice in vents

Uninvited Guests: What to Do About Mice in Vents and Your HVAC

Rodents, America’s most unwanted guests, invade about 21 million homes every year.

These furry menaces use any available nook and cranny as their own personal freeway systems. They nest in the most unlikely places, such as your HVAC system, as well.

Finding mice in vents and air compressors is guaranteed to ruin your day, especially as summer approaches, and you need to rely on your HVAC unit to beat the heat.

Not only can mice damage your air conditioning system, but they also pose various health risks as well.

What can you do about mice in your vents? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Health Risks Mice Pose

Animal dander is one of the most common allergens. When mice make their homes in your HVAC system, the dander they shed ends up in the ducts where a filter won’t be able to catch it. Whenever the system kicks on, it blows that dander into your home. This can trigger asthma attacks or other breathing problems.

The same goes for any droppings left in the ducts. Hantavirus is a virus carried by mice but doesn’t make the animal sick. However, breathing in air circulating past the animal’s urine or droppings can make humans ill. There are several other viruses passed by mouse droppings, like lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

In the quest to eradicate these pests, some homeowners accidentally expose themselves to harmful pesticides. In severe cases of pesticide exposure, it can lead to damage in the liver, central nervous system, and kidneys.

How to Tell If Mice Are in Your Vents

There are two ways to tell if mice have invaded your HVAC system.

  1. Strange noises – Mice emerge just after dark to forage for food. Listen for soft running sounds in your attic or walls.
  2. Droppings and urine stains- Mice leave droppings everywhere they’ve been. Same with urine. If you want to be extra certain mice are in your system, try using a blacklight to check for urine stains.

How to Remove Mice From Your Vents

It is essential to remove mice from your HVAC system as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.

  • Turn off your system
  • Remove your HVAC vent covers
  • Set out your preferred mouse trap – Humane traps work, but may not fit inside the duct as easily as snap traps
  • Load the trap – Peanut butter, cheese, or bacon work well to lure mice
  • Check the traps every day – Dispose of the mouse while wearing gloves to be careful
  • Block any entry points – Use fine mesh patches to cover gaps where mice may enter the home or HVAC system

Repairing Damage Left by Mice in Your HVAC System

If the mice lived in your system for a long time, there’s probably quite a bit of damage to the ducts. Replacing ductwork in your attic isn’t really a DIY project, unfortunately. Bring in a professional repairman so they can assess the situation and make sure your system works correctly.

Mice may also get into the HVAC compressor itself while attempting to stay warm. They will chew on wires, causing the system to short out. Mouse droppings and urine can also gum up the compressor, leading to problems. If you suspect mice have been in the compressor, it’s time to bring in an expert to repair or replace your unit.

Need More Help Dealing With Mice in Vents?

No one wants to be without air conditioning during the summer just because of a mouse infestation. Summer temperatures keep rising every year, and with it, the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Keep your family safe this summer by scheduling an appointment with us to come check your HVAC system for any damage left by mice in vents and compressors.

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