13 answers

Horrible Smell Coming Through the Vents

Last year we smelled an odor that we thought was a dead squirrel. It was only coming into two of the four bedrooms through the ducts so we covered those vents and kept the heat on. Here we are a year later, and when we turned on the heat this winter we have the exact same smell. It is not as pungent as it was, but definitely there. We think something died in the vent above my daughters room. We tried putting air filters over the spot and everything, but we are amazed that the smell is still there after a whole year. Have you ever heard of a smell of death lasting that long after it died? Could it be another problem? Last year the smell made us feel sick, nauseous...This year that is gone but the smell is undeniable. Is the odor toxic, and unhealthy or harmless?

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More Answers

This would make me crazy. I'd have some professionals come in and clean your ducts. I just checked and Sears does it for less than $150. Not sure what size that's for, but in general it's not that expensive and would definitely be worth it. Plus it would just get dust and other allergen type stuff out as well.

2 moms found this helpful

I suggest you get your ducts cleaned or "blown out." I don't know if it is toxic but it sounds like an awful thing to have decided to live with especially if it made you sick. I do know we had racoons in our attic, and after they were removed, we were told by our vet they carry a very dangerous parasite and aren't even allowied in the vet's office. So I think there would be something toxic, although a year later it is probably now harmless.

2 moms found this helpful

Do you use the air conditioning in this unit as well? If so, it seems like you would have been smelling this all year when using the air conditioning as well. If not then it sounds like a possible mold issue. Call a HVAC company to clean out the duct work & have them service your unit as well bc they can spray a disinfectant on your coils that will go throughout house when using the unit. Good Luck with your smelly problem! :)

2 moms found this helpful

Well I would suggest having someone come out and clean out your ducts. Not one that just vacuums out the first couple of feet from the vent but someone that runs a cleaner all the way through. It's possible that something is still stinking after a year if it's not left out in the elements.
C.

2 moms found this helpful

no one could tell you that if you dont even know for sure what it is. Id call one of those places that cleans your vents and get them to come clean your vents.

1 mom found this helpful

I used to get an acrid smell of burning dust at the beginning of every winter season in a place I rented. It subsided after a few days. I think an animal would've dried out by now.

1 mom found this helpful

I had this happen to me when I was in an apt. I kept telling eveyone there was a dead bird/squirrel/mouse something in the walls. The landlord finally sent an electrician out and I had a smoldering/small burning electrical fuse between the wall. The had to remove the wire and replace the fuse. Definately get it checked out. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Hi,
You seriously need to get your vents and ducts cleaned. I'm not a doctor but that can't be good for you to be breathing. If you've never had them clean you likely have all kinds of gross stuff and allergens in there. Its usually less than $150. We had it done when we moved into our new house. It was so amazing all the gunk they cleaned out. We could tell the previous owners had never done it. So gross to think we were breathing that stuff!

1 mom found this helpful

I think it has something to do with your heater. You need to have a technician come look at.

1 mom found this helpful

Get your vents cleaned! There are specials all the time in those newspapers and coupons that come in your mail box. I saw one for something like $50 for the entire house. Doesn't run much more than $100 at the most.

I've had it done, and it doesn't involve vacuuming a few feet from the vent as someone said. They actually set up a big vacuum sucker bag in your lawn, and the use a super powered blower at the vents to blow it into the bag. We had one return that was so clogged, that a kleenex couldn't get through. After he cleaned it, he took another kleenex and it got sucked right through even without the blower.

1 mom found this helpful

I would get your furnace unit cleaned & tuned as well as having your vents cleaned out. We had a similar issue and had this done and its gone. I would make sure you check out the 'fine print' with some of those vent cleaners though. I found they advertise that, once they come out to your home it runs into hundreds of dollars. I hired a reputable company that actually goes into the ductwork and throughly cleans your whole venting system. It did cost around $400.00 but well worth it. They use the same system in hospitals. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

Do you have central air? If so did you notice the same smell, if yes then I would get all the ducts cleaned and check for mold in the area/room that your furnace is in.

If no I would have a technician or heating company come out and service your furnace. Good to do every few years anyway. Mention to them the issue they may be able to figure it out for you.

Do you get water in your basement, or is it damp? Then you could be smelling mold. We had a horrible, horrible issue with a damp then wet basement which leads to mold and mildew. Since the furnace was in the wet/damp basement in moldy conditions it was pulling that moldy air through the furnace and I was starting to get really sick and to me the smell was bad. My husband only noticed it when it was really bad. In this case get someone professional mold cleaners to clean the moldy area well and clean the furnace and ducts. Sadly for us it took waterproofing the basement to fix our problem and smell, hope you do not need to go that far.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a heating and cooling company come out to my house free of charge to look at my vents and furnace and give me an estimate of how much it would cost. It was only like $150. You could at least have a professsional come out and give you their opinion. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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