mouse house in the furnace exhaust

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by alleycat, May 4, 2008.

  1. alleycat

    alleycat New Member

    Oct 29, 2004
    Hello all.
    We went up to the in-laws' summer camp in central maine yesterday to open it up. We turned on the furnace (which runs on propane) and 2 or 3 minutes later I opened the front door and smelled a horrible burning smell. Shut off the furnace and found some fur just inside the exhaust pipe outside the house. So we assume there's a mouse house in there somewhere. There was a lot of vapor coming from the exhaust, so I don't think it's actually blocked.

    Called the furnace company and the guy couldn't guarantee when he could get there but suggested that we pull the exhaust pipe apart in the basement to see what's in there. The pipe comes into the house a foot or two, then elbows down about 5 feet, then elbows over a foot or so into the furnace. The drop down part has about 5 sections, each secured by stainless straps and then sealed by red silicone. We asked him about reinstalling the sections without the red silicone and he thought it would be alright, but I was very worried about the potential for CO poisoning and I hadn't brought the CO monitors.

    My husband considered running it again for a few more minutes to see if whatever is there would burn itself out, but I assumed that meant basically creating a fire in the pipe and I didn't want to burn the camp down.

    So does anyone think this is a DIY project? And any suggestions about how to prevent this in the future? There was a TON of snow this year so I'm wondering if the critters didn't have a direct line from the snow banks right to the vent...

    Thanks for any input.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    A mouse can squeeze into some pretty small places, and they could very well have taken up residence in the pipes. That sealant is required, and you aren't supposed to run the heater for 24-hours after installation based on the instructions of the stuff I've used (although this is often overlooked). If the burner isn't turning off because of the blockage, then you should probably be safe running it. You may want to look into whether there are any othter grills that are available for the outlet that may prevent this from happening again.
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  4. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    When I had my old furnace cleaned once, the furnace guy pulled out an incinerated mouse, when, he handed it to me, I told him that I already had dinner, no thanks. It was done.

    So, they do get in there and this was my house not a camp. I heard of roasting toasties, roasting marshmallows, roasting a turkey, but roasting mice? Yuk.

    Mice unfortunately get into everything. Once at our camp, when I had opened a kitchen drawer there was a mouse. I called, ( shrieked) for my husband and dutifully, he came running, running to what he didn't know but he knew better than not to; and he pulled the drawer out.

    When he did, there was a mama mouse and her young ones, all pink with their eyes still shut, looking much like little tiny aliens from space.

    I shrieked again, the kiddies shrieked and we jumped onto furniture and left him standing there holding the drawer full of mice saying, " someone get the door" , well, as much as we loved him, no one was going to get the door for this man. He was holding a drawer full of mice. No way any of us were going to get involved or off the furniture.

    When he took a step toward the door all hell let loose. The BIG mama mouse, as big as a mack truck, jumped down and ran, we shrieked more, and we saw the little tiny pink things moving about.

    He knew he was on his own.

    When we got outside, we then were brave and looked into his drawer of mice. There must had been 8 or 9 in there. We took them home in a box. The box had the whole back seat. There were 4 of us unfront in 2 bucket seats.

    This wonderful, gentle man raised them at home, and later let them loose. I didn't want to burst his bubble, so, I hid the 9 mousetraps I bought later that same day. :D
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