Strange Things Found in Ductwork

If you were to look into an air duct, you would probably find a lot of dust, hair, and occasionally mold. However, from time to time, technicians find some odds and ends in ductwork--things that have been hidden there on purpose, things that have crawled inside, and things that ended up there only God knows how.

Here are some of the odd things people have found inside HVAC ductwork over the years. Take a look!

1. Bottles & Cans

This is a lot more common than most people would imagine. HVAC technicians frequently find full and empty bottles and cans stashed away in air ducts, left by construction crews when building the house or by past or current residents. Beer is especially common.

2. Reptiles

During the colder months of the year when you tend to run your heater, your air ducts can become very warm and inviting to cold-blooded creatures--namely, reptiles. More than one pet reptile has crawled or slithered up into a home’s ductwork, including a 4-foot-long ball python, which was later recovered by animal control, and an iguana in Florida, which unfortunately was not found until after its demise.

3. Furry and Feathery Critters

Air ducts promise not only warmth during the winter but a place to hide as well, which make them quite appealing to a variety of animals. It’s not unusual for technicians to find rodents, both dead and living, in ductwork. Some of the other animals that have been found include cats, raccoons, possums, birds, and foxes.

4. A Heap of Books and VCR Tapes

In Ontario, Canada, an HVAC technician received a call from a family that wasn’t getting any airflow from the air vents in their living room. It took some investigating and a small hole in the drywall and duct, but the problem was solved once the technician extracted 45 VCR tapes and 19 books from the duct. It turns out that a four-year-old in the family had been dropping the tapes and books into the duct for quite some time!

5. Contraband

Air ducts have been (mis)used countless time as a place to hide items, including those of a questionable or outright illegal nature. Technicians across the country have discovered items such as bags of marijuana, crack pipes, used needles, firearms, and other weapons secreted away in ductwork.

6. A Person’s Makeshift Home

Residential air ducts are far too cramped to accommodate a person comfortably, but some commercial ducts are quite a bit larger. One HVAC company in Minneapolis discovered that a homeless person had been living in the duct system of a college. The individual had gotten in through the fresh-air grate, and over the several weeks, they’d brought in a couch, a bedroom set, and a large bucket to serve as their toilet. The individual was missing at the time their belongings were discovered.

Starting to wonder just what might be hidden away in your air ducts, obstructing airflow or causing that weird smell you can’t explain? Contact the experts at Morrison Plumbing, Heating & Air to inspect and clean your ductwork so that you can enjoy better indoor air quality and a more efficient heating and cooling system.