If your small office building currently has a rodent problem, you may expect the pests to construct nests in the walls, flooring and attic. But one of the hiding places you probably won't think to look in is your duct system. During the winter, the warm air circulating through your air ducts make perfect homes for rats to hide from the cold weather outside. If the ducts are coated with hair, dust and other problems, the rodents can use these things to build their nests. You can make your air ducts inhabitable by cleaning them. Here's what you do.
Look for Signs of Rodents in the Air Ducts
The first thing you should do is look for signs of rodents living inside your duct system. Rats urinate and drop feces as they travel through your air ducts. As the urine and droppings dry, they give off a scent similar to ammonia.
You may notice the scent when you operate your heating system, as well as stand under the air vents in your building. The smell of urine and rat droppings may be subtle in some offices and stronger in others, depending on where the rats are living.
Once you know that you have rats in your air ducts, contact pest control to remove trap or remove the rodents. Pest control will also clean out the attic and walls of your building, as well as repair the holes in the duct system. However, you can clean the air ducts yourself or professionally.
Clean Your Air Vents and Grilles
You'll need to remove the grilles over each vent to perform the cleaning. If the vents are located on high ceilings, or if you feel uncomfortable about cleaning out the air ducts, you may wish to contact a professional vent cleaner to do the job for you. However, if the vents are within reach, you can follow the steps below and do the work yourself.
Here's what you do:
- Put on a pair of utility gloves, a face mask and plastic goggles — The gear protects your skin, nose, mouth, and eyes from the rodents' urine and droppings.
- Prepare a bucket of hot, soapy water to clean the grilles and openings of the air vents — Don't use bleach. When bleach mixes with the ammonia smell of the dried feces and urine, it gives off a harsh odor that can make you ill.
- Cover the floor with a large tarp, then remove the grilles and place them on the tarp.
- Use a scrubbing brush to clean and sanitize the grilles, and then let them air dry until you complete the next cleaning step.
- Use a vacuum to suction out the openings of the vents.
- Clean the inside of the air vents with the soapy water. Try to clean as far inside the vents as you can to remove the rodents' droppings and urine.
After you clean the vents, replace the grilles, discard your protective gear into the trash, and pour the soapy water down a utility drain. The clean vents and grilles should keep the rodents' scent from entering the building.
For more information, contact Clearzone Services or a similar company.