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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    24

    Mouse in condensing unit -- need some advice and perhaps counseling!

    Okay, I know the pro's on this forum have seen this kind of stuff, but I am just a residential owner and must admit the following has frayed my nerves a little.

    If you're squeamish, feel free not to read.

    My mother-in-law was visiting for dinner tonight (no, this is not the squeamish part). After dinner she was helping clean up and called me over. It sounded like a chicken bone had fallen into our garbage disposal unit. However, as I got closer, I could tell the sound was coming from outside (the window was open).

    I went to investigate and my flashlight revealed the mangled (worse, but won't describe it) body of a mouse or rat above the fan blades of our air conditioning condensing unit. I am not so squeamish, but this was quite a repulsive sight.

    I looked at our manual, but did not see an easy way of removing the top of the condensing unit to extract the "fankill". The animal is too big to extract without removing the grill.

    I'll call our HVAC pro tomorrow (Sunday) to see if they can come out ASAP.

    Question 1) Hopefully, they'll be able to clean the unit, but if not, what is the best way for us to clean the unit thoroughly?

    Question 2) Can you please reassure me that this air does not enter our house. (I believe the fan is just an exhaust fan cooling the condensing unit.)

    Question 3) Do you think this is just a freak accident, or are there precautions that can be taken to keep varmints away from the condensing units? We recently put some mulch in the area around the units, not sure if this attracted some animals.

    Well, thanks all for your help and support in this troubling time.

    Update: just went back to take a picture and the creature is no longer there. I imagine it fell down through blades and is somewhere below. yuck.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    79
    If its a split system the air doesn't enter your home. I think you can wait until Monday and not bother the poor A/C man.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    24
    Thanks Therm. We have turned the unit off. I'm assuming we should leave the unit off until our A/C guy comes. Tomorrow will be in the 80's here in CA, but we will tough it out!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    79
    If the remains are not blocking the fan operation, You could run the A/C.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,847
    Quote Originally Posted by gcandrews View Post
    Thanks Therm. We have turned the unit off. I'm assuming we should leave the unit off until our A/C guy comes. Tomorrow will be in the 80's here in CA, but we will tough it out!
    If the deceased doesn't impede the rotation of the fan blade, why turn it off? I assure you the rodent won't mind a bit. Or, if he does, he'll keep his pie hole shut.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,847
    76 beat me to it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    24
    Well, looks like the rodent has since fallen back down through the fan blades, so starting up the unit might send him/her through again. While he will surely no longer mind, I'm not sure I want more rodent parts going through the fan.

    I found a couple of threads that talk about some of the nastier things that happen in and within an HVAC system. At least I take some solace knowing this #$@@ happens.

    http://www.hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=150931

    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=172059

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,847
    Quote Originally Posted by gcandrews View Post
    Well, looks like the rodent has since fallen back down through the fan blades, so starting up the unit might send him/her through again. While he will surely no longer mind, I'm not sure I want more rodent parts going through the fan.
    Well, you can't hurt the unit if you don't use it. I wish more people had that much respect for their equipment. Thank You GC.

  9. #9
    Turn the power off, rinse off the blood/goo. (like if it rained). Wait an hour and turn the power back on. Run it and let the AC guy have a day off. Call monday set up a time to clean it. No hurry now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    San Clemente, CA
    Posts
    1,094
    Post brand and model number, would like to know what manufacturer designs product to allow this.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    11,847
    Quote Originally Posted by JKopp View Post
    Post brand and model number, would like to know what manufacturer designs product to allow this.
    Yea, it looks like they forgot to do a rodent calc this time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    24
    hi JKopp,

    We have a Lennox 13ACD Merit Series Condensing Unit.

    I'm not quite sure how the manufacturer can completely avoid rodents getting in. They can usually squeeze through some pretty tight spaces, but perhaps Lennox could have made the grill over the fan blades with smaller gaps.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    east kansas
    Posts
    8,024
    The condenser air does not communicate with inside air.

    The rat won't be sucked up into the blade again.

    Reminds me of when a cat got stuck under my brother's house. It was stuck between a flue pipe and the floor. Man that thing stunk!
    Beware of advice given by some guy on the Internet.

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