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Critter in Heat Duct

Posted by JWLuck (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 21, 12 at 15:32

Hello all -
This is more a pest in the HVAC system problem (didn't see pest forum, so apologize if I missed it). I have a gas furnace in the basement that feeds to several registers in our single story home. In the last couple months, some nocturnal critter has been scratching furiously beneath a heat register in the furthest (from furnace) part of the house, where the crawl space has least clearance (i.e, the part I can't get to). I popped the register and duct boot was hanging beneath the cutout by a few inches, pulled from the floor. I re-nailed it shut and thought the problem was briefly solved. I also found that a nearby foundation vent had a hole a few inches wide in it, and sprayed foam to seal it.

Nope! The scratching came back at night - but intermittently (1-3x/week). Sounds like something is furiously trying to scrape through the register into the home. Now, little to no heat comes out as well. I believe the critter must have torn some holes in the ductwork based on this. I also cut some hardware cloth and closed the foundation vent again - the critter had scratched/chewed its was through all the foam and the gap was even widened to about 5"across - and left a basement door open at night as an exit.

I know a skunk was living under there this past summer to Fall, possibly making it its den and breeding. Haven't smelled it in last couple months.

Question - does this sound like a skunk (size of hole, nocturnal, known presence)? If so, why would the skunk be obsessed with the duct/heat register? Would they den inside the duct?? Other thought is could be a rat but haven't seen evidence of this...thoughts?

OK - this was quite a rant. Sleepless nights.
Best,
Jamie

(PS-Oakland in SF Bay area)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Critter in Heat Duct

get under the house to see what damage the
critter has done to the duct.
fix the damage.
after all...someone got under there
to install ducts. get a piece of plastic
and lie on it to scoot into low spots.
use mastics & mastic tape to seal holes.

put poison out to kill critters and
close openings (not foam...critters &
termites like foam on the ground)
use hardware cloth to seal openings.

best of luck.


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