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Dead animal in heat vents

An animal got into my vent system and got killed by the fan which also killed my fan. Had the motor replaced but the shop could not find the animal when they replaced the fan motor. They said they would have to take off the dashboard and disconnect the AC to get into the vents and they wanted $850 to do it. I said" No" so now I have to find a way kill the smell myself. Smells like a rotting dead chicken.

What kind of vehicle and do you have AC? If you have AC, it can’t have gone very far because it can’t get through the evaporator coil, which is only a few inches away from the motor. On most vehicles, you can drop the blower motor and reach through the duct to the evaporator compartment to get the critter, just wear gloves. Can’t do that on a Honda though because they curved that section of the duct so you can’t stick your arm in there.

Keith is assuming that the animal went in through other than the duct vents. I’m not willing to make that assumption.

I agree with the shop. And that’s the only way you have a chance of getting rid of the smell for anywhere resembling the near future.

Many years ago my mom used DCON and an animal died in the rafters above her garage roof. It stunk for months & months.

Keith is assuming that the animal got into the blower motor from the outside air vent located under the cowl. Its a straight drop from there to the blower motor if outside air is selected.

But it doesn’t matter how the critter got in there, it was killed by the fan and the fan is most likely to throw the critters body toward the chamber for the evaporator. Now if the vehicle in question is a Toyota Corolla 2003 or newer, then the whole dashboard has to be removed to get to the vents.

I guess I’m having a hard time visualizing how the shop could possibly clean out the tissue samples through the blower motor hole.

Admittedly, I was thinking that you were thinking the animal had entered through the cowling and was on the outside of the evaporator. But, than, your comment would not have made sense… so I guess my mind’s eye was messed up.

I’m going to post an “exploded view” drawing of my own system, in the hopes that since they’re both Toyota products it’ll give the OP a general idea how the system might be constructed. It’s a longshot, but it might help.

SMB, I was thinking that the animal got in through the cowling, but that doesn’t really matter. The critter was killed by the spinning squirrel cage according to the OP. The critter was probably still inside the squirrel cage when the blower motor was replaced.

Most replacement blower motors come with a new squirrel cage, but not all do. If the squirrel cage was reused, it should have been cleaned and disinfected first, so I question whether or not the shop did that. It is also easy enough to clean out the blower compartment and disinfect that along with a few inches of duct to the heat exchanger compartment on any vehicle. I have done this a few times and so far, that is all that has been needed.

The problem is that the cleaning needs to be done immediately. The longer the smell remains, the more it permeates through the rest of the system and the harder it is to get rid of later. If the animal was a mouse, as all of mine have been, the good news is that the dead mouse smell will usually go away within two weeks. But the bad news is, Hanta Virus. This is a potential life threatening airborne disease spread by mice droppings.

I don’t know what the OP’s capabilities are, but I would suggest that the blower motor be removed and that the blower compartment and as much duct that can be reached be cleaned out with a disinfectant such as Lysol. Use gloves and wear a medical grade mask or respirator. Then use a spray disinfectant to spray into the heat exchanger compartment. Follow that up by reinstalling the blower and then with it running on high, spray the disinfectant into the air intake until it can be detected at the vents. Then close up the vehicle and let it sit for a few hours.

Sounds like a good plan. I sincerely hope the OP can manage it. If the OP is like me, $850 is a big chunk of much-needed money!

To the OP, allow me to suggest that you ask the local dealer’s parts department for an “exploded view” drawing of your installation. They’re usually happy to provide one, as they hope you’ll buy the parts frrom them.