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Old 07-02-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
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Something died in ducting, now what?

We came in today for some laundry and had a chance to post this, Temps are alittle cold so heater is necessary, it really stinks bad! things I have tried so far. taking all the floor grates off and duct taping a hose to the vaccum cleaner, bleach and water on a rag on the end of a wire coat hanger...... took the face off the furnace on the outside of the motorhome I can see the 4 hoses going to the ducts(where I think the stinker is) but no way to get to it with out cutting a passage thru the basement or taking the furnace out but the way it is attached in the rear no way to unbolt...any suggestions, fogging but you need a air return in the ducting I have no idea where that is! ect..will it dissapear in time thanks...by the way 97 Damon Class A.

Michael
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:36 PM   #2
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If you can find a heating and air service that does duct cleaning, that might work. In our home town there is a service with a truck with a ton of hose and a huge vacuum mounted in the rear. He comes to your house and attached the hose, seals the vents except one and vaccuums each duct - taking off one seal and replacing the one he just cleaned. Pulls everything from live mice to money to ball point pens and pencils out. Should be able to do an RV if the suction is not too strong and it collapses a duct.
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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Did this just occur? If you had only one word to describe it, what would it be? I ask because of some of my past experiences with ducting.

If it just started, then you probably have something that crawled in there and died. My return in my '98 vectra is under the kitchen sink. Air flows in through the cabinet toe space through perforated metal cover. My furnace and A/C are in the basement. I did have an odor because I left stuff in my waste basket under my sink too long. Once I removed the waste, the odor went away. If your return is under your sink, did something spill under there that could be allowing odors into the return system?

I'm not sure a duct cleaner could do you any good since access to the ducts are extremely limited and I wouldn't want a duct cleaner cutting into my duct work. You can check a lot of your ducting with a mirror and bright flashlight. Take off the registers and look down the ducts with the mirror. You might be able to take a register off on the same run and shine a light from that register to the one with the mirror. It might help you see if anything is in there. If it is something that crawled in there and died, it could be in the unit itself. You would probably have to pull that out to check it. While it was pulled out, you could also check the ducts at that level.

I feel for you. If it is a critter and you can't find it, it will take a long time for it to dry out and stop stinking.
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:35 PM   #4
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Cool

Micro cameras smaller than the diameter of an eraser have been developed to where they can be fed by cable into small spaces for inspection purposes. This may be an option to explore. A tech used one on my RV before.
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Old 07-05-2009, 11:01 AM   #5
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Since you have noticed this odor from using the furnace, it is probably a rodent that has made its way to the heat exchanger and is now bring cooked when the furnace is in operation. You, or someone trained, will need to turn off the gas, remove the furnace, dissemble and clean it out. Re-install and air out the coach.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:52 AM   #6
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Open the windows; turn the furnace on and cook that bugger;
thats the same as they do to people when they turn them to dust.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:17 AM   #7
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We had a critter die in the walls of our house once and only time, about six weeks, could cure the problem. It is a wonder this doesn't happen more often. Bad luck.
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:05 AM   #8
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We had a critter die in the walls of our house once and only time, about six weeks, could cure the problem. It is a wonder this doesn't happen more often. Bad luck.
We are going through this right now with our new (to us) Dutchmen Class C. Apparently some critter died in the ductwork, and the smell is that sickly-sweet-icky odor that only dead mice seem to create.

Yesterday we took the rig up to nearby Lake McBride for another shakedown cruise. The smell in the bathroom was bad, so we resolved to fix it. Mary and I spent five hours, disconnecting every heating grate and duct, running 20' of shop vac hose up each one. Sucked up a lot of stuff -- you could see evidence of rodents, and their leave-behinds -- but no mouse.

Unfortunately, the duct in the bathroom comes out from under the bathtub, and it's a smaller diameter than the duct that heads that-away from the furnace. This indicates that there is a "T" fitting there, BEHIND the tub. Stupid stupid STUPID design, since there's no way to access that area.

Given the fact that airflow to the back bedroom seems to be restricted (we've been using an electric space heater to supplement), and that the bathroom ducting T's off of that larger duct, my guess is that a mouse died somewhere in the vicinity of that T fitting behind the tub, and may have chewed holes in the duct heading back to the bedroom.

How in the heck I'm ever going to fix that is a mystery. I'm thinking of borrowing a borescope to run a camera back in there.

Stupid bath tub. Who the heck uses a bath tub in an RV? I'd like to rip it out and put in a large stand-up shower, regain some floor space, and fix the ducting, all at the same time...

Anyway, we've put Bounce dryer sheets inside all the heating grates, and tucked some heavy-duty deodorizers down by the furnace and in other hard-to-access areas. We also poured pet-urine deodorizer INTO the ducts (they're nothing more than dryer duct), which should neutralize the odor of mouse urine, which was probably in there, too.

Just in time to store it for the winter. In a machine shed. Out in the country. Anyone know a sure-fire way to keep mice out of the RV?
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:30 PM   #9
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disconnect the flexable duct pipe from the furnace,remove the grate from the wall/floor heat duct, tape a small kitchen garbage bag over the heat duct that you first poked small holes in. go and get your electric LEAF BLOWER plug it into the duct pipe and turn it on in short bursts. you should have seen the size of the mouse nest that was in the hose!
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:59 PM   #10
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disconnect the flexable duct pipe from the furnace,remove the grate from the wall/floor heat duct, tape a small kitchen garbage bag over the heat duct that you first poked small holes in. go and get your electric LEAF BLOWER plug it into the duct pipe and turn it on in short bursts. you should have seen the size of the mouse nest that was in the hose!
Wow -- great idea! Of course, all I own is a GAS-powered leaf blower, but I'll give it a try anyway...
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Old 11-15-2009, 02:10 PM   #11
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All the above is VERY good reason to avoid various brands of poison to get rid of mice and rats - thay can, and will, get into impossibly inaccessable places to die...

We bought a used stove that the previous owners had stuck out in their garage for a period of time before selling it to us - mice had tunneled into the insulation surround the oven, and built a nest - you can imagine the stink the first time we used that oven!

Removed the sides of the oven to expose the remains, and cleaned them out - but the odor had penetrated all thru the insulation and rest of the stove - took nearly 6 months for the odor to stop every time we used the oven.

Some of these incidents will require simple time and patience to eventually clear up - plus understanding guests...
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:43 PM   #12
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Is there any product that will REPELL mice, rather than kill them?
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:52 PM   #13
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disconnect the flexable duct pipe from the furnace,remove the grate from the wall/floor heat duct, tape a small kitchen garbage bag over the heat duct that you first poked small holes in. go and get your electric LEAF BLOWER plug it into the duct pipe and turn it on in short bursts. you should have seen the size of the mouse nest that was in the hose!
We finally got around to trying this method yesterday. Nothing blew out of the ducts, so I guess they are clear. (We did set off the smoke detector, however -- nice to know that it works!)

The smell under the tub persists, however. I suppose it could be a dead mouse that's under the tub and not inside the duct. Don't know how we'll ever know, cuz you can't access that area.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:08 PM   #14
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Jay- no reason you can't yank the tub and put in a shower. You can have a custom base made many places to fit the spot, putting the drain right where you specify. In our guest bathroom at our Lake Havasu area park I put in a shower. When the framing was done, the shower base guy came & measured, then delivered the finished base w/curb in a couple days.
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