Mouse Hiding His Face

Air duct cleaning for Westminster homes is essential maintenance and should be performed every two to three years at minimum. That’s because here in Colorado all manner of dirt, debris, pollen and living, breathing creatures can wind up in your air ducts. Living, breathing creatures? Like animals? That’s right. Birds included. In our years of ductwork and dryer vent cleaning we’ve come across just about everything including mice, squirrels, birds, bees and more. In some cases they’re dead but in other cases they’re alive and living large in the ducts or vents. Once the surprise wears off homeowners want to know how these uninvited guests got into their ductwork in the first place.

Mice and Other Rodents

Typically four legged creatures inside air vents will be small, such as mice. But on occasion you may be dealing with squirrels or even rats. There are a number of ways they may have gotten into the ductwork. But they started their journey to the ducts by entering the house first. Once in the house they may have entered the air ducts via the HVAC unit in the basement. In the case of mice they’re sometimes small enough to enter the house, then squeeze through an open register into the nice, cozy warm air vent.

In the case of dryer vents, if the vent cover is made of plastic or lightweight aluminum squirrels can chew right through it and gain access to the vent. Same with the vent cover for your stove hood or bathroom exhaust fan. Once inside they’re oblivious to the respiratory dangers. They’re just loving on the heat and safety. In most cases you won’t need to call the local animal control department to remove dead bodies or mice. The technicians from Steve’s can often do it for you. But when it comes to larger rodents or raccoons nesting in the chimney you’ll need to call the animal removal pros.


Birds may enter the attic or basement first and then exploit a weakness in the air duct system to enter and set up house. But that’s not the worst of it. Because if a bird has set up a nest in your vents eggs can’t be far behind. And once the eggs hatch mom is going to be bringing food into the vents, often in the form of bugs. And sometimes these bugs escape before being eaten. Then you’ve got two problems. Birds and bugs.

Birds love air ducts because they’re safe and warm. And sometimes their nests can get so big that they actually interfere with air flow. The moldy old leaves and other detritus they drag into the ducts can also give the entire house a musty, unpleasant odor. Not quite as bad as a dead animal body in the ducts, but sometimes pretty close. In addition, all those adult and baby birds mean bird droppings aplenty. And now you’ve got a potential health hazard as microbes from the droppings are circulated throughout the house by the air ducts. Removing dead birds is usually within the capabilities of our vent cleaning technicians. But if there’s an active nest with young birds the animal control pros will likely need to remove them first before duct cleaning can commence.

Remove the Pests and Arrange for Air Duct Cleaning in Westminster

The fact that a home has living (or formerly living) creatures in the air ducts or dryer vent is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens at some point to a large percentage of homes. Even spanking clean, brand new ones. And there’s no reason to worry about anyone’s physical safety, since the animals don’t want anything to do with humans. They’re just trying to stay warm and hope you won’t notice them. There are steps you can take, however, that will help prevent your ducts and vents from playing host to uninvited guests.

  • Seal off Potential Points of Entry - As we said, in most cases mice and other rodents will enter the house first before finding their way into the ductwork. So seal off those places where they’re entering. It may be cracks in the foundation or rotten window frames around basement windows. The soffits on your home may be rotten and birds and squirrels may be entering that way. Or it could be the vent hood on the outside of the house has been compromised. Whatever the problem, fix it.
  • Have the Ductwork Sealed - Once intruders have made it into the house they then find a way into the ductwork. In some cases they exploit gaps between sections of ductwork. In other cases they enter the HVAC unit in the basement and crawl up through it to the ducts. These situations can be avoided by having the ductwork inspected and any gaps or weak points fixed. The furnace/air conditioning unit can also be effectively sealed against intruders without too much fuss or expense.

Finally, have the ducts cleaned on a regular basis. Invasive animals love ducts that never get any attention. They can set up shop and live there for years. If you enlist the services of Steve’s air duct cleaning in Westminster for regular cleaning it’s unlikely any pesky rodents or birds will have the opportunity to establish a foothold. Remember too that if you recently had animal control remove birds or rodents from your ductwork you should have the ducts thoroughly cleaned to rid them of any contaminants left behind.

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