A bird died in my bathroom vent duct. I decided to take it apart and
push the smelly body out (from the bathroom side), but seem to have
run into something that prevents this. On examining the exterior flap
there appears to be a current nest inside the outer flap and a bird
hanging around waiting to enter her "home".
The duct is horizontal and I have inserted a (dry) old hose to push
with. Is there a baffle or a jog in the vent that prevents the pushed
hose from appearing on the outside and dumping the dead body (and the
current nest)? I can't seem to find a drawing of what that duct is
doing when it meets code. Should it be a straight line from the fan
to the outside? Think I'll try a flashlight tonight from the outside.
On the outside the vent's just beyond my ladder, but I may have to
get a few feet higher to peer in it myself. Any other ideas?
By the way when working with this stuff it all seems to break as I
take it apart. Furthermore, the design of the outer flap is obviously
a joke of great amusement to the birds. They fly up to it perching on
the wall and open it as if it were made for them. This house is 10
years old and the aluminum flap and vent hood are not broken -- just
not equal to the intelligence of a common bird. New vents and covers
in the same area use plastic louvers (hope these are better!!)
Thanks for any advice on cleaning out this smelly duct.
It might be easier (definitly less stomach turning) to replace the duct,
especially if it's falling apart.
The condo I used to live in had the plastic flippers on the dryer ducts,
but the birds ripped them off. There is a grid-like cover that they ended
up putting on the outside.
These vents generally use flexible plastic hose, which gets routed
however it takes to get it from where its going to where its ending.
Depending on what's there, that could be straight or have multiple
bends. I agree with the advice that if you can get access to the
hose, just replace it.
email@example.com (Chet Hayes) wrote in message
Thanks for the advice. The duct is round metal (about 3" diameter)
and is fairly long (25') since the bathroom is away from the outer
walls. It should be a straight shot unless there's an obstruction or
a varmit baffle. The stuff that's falling apart is the hardware on
either end which will have to be replaced or jury-rigged to get it
back together. On the inside, the fan was nailed to the ceiling joust
and the nail(s) were difficult to remove. The side of the fan has an
orifice to the duct with a plastic flap held on by a pressure fit
prong (into a slot). One of the prongs broke when I touched it but
this did get access to the round duct from the inside. On the outside
the aluminum hood had folded edges (about 1/8" to a 1/4") that had to
pried up to lift the hood to reveal the round aluminum flap. On one
side this 1/8" flap snapped off completely (not really meant to be
opened and closed I guess). These are the parts that broke --
replacing the duct would be "interesting" since it is so long. There
is another access flap at the outside opening that keeps the birds
inside warm and cozy.
Besides the smell of a dead body, I heard the victem in the duct while
in the bathroom when he got caught (by the way this is a horrible
feeling -- I like birds -- but I couldn't figure any way to get him
out). I was extremely surprised on taking the fan apart that the duct
was horizontal since I thought the bird had fallen down the vent and
couldn't climb or fly back up. From pushing with the hose from the
inside I can tell if there is something blocking and preventing push
through to the outside opening. The fact he got caught makes me
suspicious of another flap. I suppose it could be the bird's nest
(which is being used post expiration of the smelly victem), but it
must be that the birds have put the nest some distance into the duct
from the outside.
Anyway, if I don't hear any further advice here, I'll try pushing more
vigorously with the long plastic hose (or try my shorter metal drain
auger from the outside). The round metal duct was laid in when the
ceiling was open but I still am not sure whether there's a jog in it
or another critter flap (or baffle of some sort) in it (at the 2/3 to
3/4 point). Failing the roto-router approach, I'll try the critter
removal folks. By the way, I just had the furnace ducts cleaned and
dispite the fact that this company had a fee schedule for removing
critters, the on-site fellow told my wife he didn't want to take the
vent apart. (Something similar had happened to him at his house and
he just ran the fan until the smell went away.)
Guess I'm just story tell'in unless somebody has some real insight
into the problem. Thanks for listening!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.