Pesky Pests In Your HVAC System: Signs, Symptoms, And Safety

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Pesky Pests In Your HVAC System: Signs, Symptoms, And Safety

15 June 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


Your HVAC system is your ultimate source of comfort to keep you either cool in the summer or warm in the winter. While most homeowners, such as yourself, expect typical problems involving a worn out HVAC, leaking coolant, and perhaps a broken fan, pests in your system might be the last thing you would think of. However, pests are often a damaging source to your HVAC system. Fortunately, there are a few things you can look for and some great advice to follow to help you deal with the problem.

Fecal Matter from Feathered Fiends

The Problem: In general, the public shows a sort of affection toward birds in that they toss the feathered creatures breadcrumbs or seed. Some people even go as far as to own birds as pets. However, birds pose certain health risks to humans, particularly bird feces.

While flying overhead, birds can drop fecal matter into your HVAC system. If they are granted entry, birds can also take up residence in your HVAC system. Unfortunately, the inhalation of fecal dust from birds can cause you to develop flu like symptoms including:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue

While these symptoms may very well go away on their own after 2-4 days, sometimes the infection caused by bird feces can lead to long-term disabilities and in more serious cases, death. Your lungs are both warm and moist, which create an ideal environment for infections to spread and become worse.

What to Look For: Inspect your HVAC system regularly for signs of bird droppings. If you notice bird droppings on or around your HVAC system, you will need to clean it thoroughly. Make sure you wear a mask over your face and long rubber gloves, so you can avoid direct contact with the droppings.

Look for signs that birds have taken up residence in your HVAC system. Look for twigs and other debris formed into a nest. Additionally, listen for the sounds of birds near your home.

What to Do: If you consistently hear birds outside your home, have a professional come in to remove the pests. Furthermore, you will also want to contact an HVAC professional to inspect and clean your system.

Mischievous Mice

The Problem: Mice are yet another problematic pest that can cause problems for your HVAC system. Common types of mice in North America include the deer mouse and the white-footed mouse, and they are small enough that they may take up residence in your duct work. Aside from worrying over their feces, you also have to worry about their urine.

Some rodents, including mice, may carry a group of viruses referred to as hantaviruses. Although the spread of hantavirus is rare, if contracted, it can prove fatal. Symptoms of hantavirus includes:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme muscle soreness
  • Breathing troubles
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

A person will typically notice symptoms within 1-5 weeks of being exposed to rodents carrying a hantavirus. If you suspect you or someone in your home is inflicted by the disease, contact a physician immediately for treatment.

What to Look For: Listen for the sounds of mice that have taken up residence in your ducts. You may hear squeaking from time-to-time, but the most common sounds include gnawing and scratching. Mice are scavengers that tend to dig at your walls and ducts.

Use your nose to the best of your ability. If there is a bad smell coming from your vents, it may indicate a pest problem in your ducts. The smell of mice droppings and urine is often hard to miss. If something does not smell right, trust your nose.

What to Do: Again, you will need to contact a pest control professional. Although there are poisons you can use, the last thing you want is a mouse dying in one of your ducts. Have a professional come in and handle the problem for you.

You will also need to contact an HVAC professional. Have them clean your ducts properly to ensure there are no traces of mice feces and urine. Furthermore, have the HVAC specialist check your system for entry points. The professional might be able to close off areas that mice used to enter your ducts.

Nothing is more bothersome than discovering pests in your HVAC system, especially considering how sick you may become if you are exposed to their droppings. Luckily, an HVAC professional from a company like Anytime Plumbing Services can help you address these matters and even offer tips as to how you can keep pests out of your system.