HVAC Duct Cleaning: Scam or Worth It?

By: Julie Day
Vent cover on HVAC duct

Do you need to be worried about having the HVAC ducts in your home cleaned?

Duct cleaning has become popular in recent years, with commercial cleaning services popping up everywhere. But is the service worth it, or is it a scam? Here’s some information to help you decide whether or not your home might benefit from having the HVAC ducts in your house cleaned.

Duct Cleaning Services

Professional duct cleaning services use specialized blowers, vacuums, and brushes to clean out the supply, intake, and return ducts throughout your home. Duct cleaning should also involve a thorough cleaning of the air handler, registers, grilles, fans, motors, housings, and coils of the HVAC system.

There’s no research at present proving that routine duct cleaning improves the air quality or reduces dust in your home. There is, however, evidence that dirty heating and cooling coils, motors, and air handling units can make your HVAC unit less efficient.

While duct cleaning alone doesn’t seem that necessary, there are cases where cleaning the HVAC unit and ductwork could be useful.

Floor duct with cover grate removed.

Ducts in your home may be dirty and need cleaning after remodeling.

Should I Have Ducts Cleaned?

Due to growing concerns about indoor air quality, it’s easy to convince homeowners that their ducts need cleaning. But unless ducts are really dirty, there’s no reason to clean them. The EPA takes a similar stance on the issue, recommending cleaning only if the ducts and HVAC unit are contaminated.

If done properly, duct cleaning doesn’t hurt; but it’s not something that needs to be on your regular home maintenance list. You probably don’t need to have your ducts and HVAC system cleaned unless:

  • Renovation: If your home has been remodeled – especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust – your ductwork may need to be cleaned. Ducts should be sealed off during home renovations; but if they weren’t, dangerous dust and debris may become lodged inside the ductwork.
  • Animals: If there’s evidence of animal infestation or nesting in your ducts or HVAC system, have the animals removed then clean the ductwork and HVAC unit.
  • Mold: If there is visible mold growth inside the ductwork, the ducts and HVAC system should be cleaned.
  • Contaminants: If noticeable debris, pet hair, odors, or other contaminants are being released into the room through the ducts after the registers have been cleaned and vacuumed; then the ducts may need to be cleaned.
  • Illness: If someone in your family is suffering from an unexplained allergy-related illness, and you’ve taken every other possible step to decontaminate your home, you may want to consider having your ducts cleaned to see if the HVAC system was the culprit.
Duct inside a HVAC unit.

The entire HVAC heating/cooling system should be inspected and cleaned as well.

How To Avoid Duct Cleaning Scams

While there are reputable, professional HVAC cleaning services out there, there are scams as well. Anytime scare tactics can be used to make the claim that your home might be “unhealthy,” homeowners run the risk of being frightened into emptying their checkbooks.

Here are some tips for avoiding scams if you decide to look into having the ducts and HVAC system in your home cleaned:

  • Full Service: Don’t settle for just duct cleaning, make sure the cleaning service is also going to do a full cleaning of the heating/cooling unit.
  • References: Get and check references in your area to find out what was provided for the money, and whether customers were satisfied.
  • Estimates: Ask for written estimates from at least three HVAC cleaning services. A reputable company should provide a free inspection and estimate.
  • Avoid Gimmicks: Ads for “$79 whole-house specials” are scams. At most a few ducts will get a very cursory vacuum; and at worst, you’ll end up talked into a much more expensive package. High-quality duct and HVAC cleaning should cost upwards of $500, take several hours with sophisticated equipment, and involve multiple workers.
  • Floor duct cover

    Verify results after cleaning.

  • Certifications: The cleaning company should be certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), which sets standards for HVAC system cleaning. The EPA does not certify duct cleaners, so avoid anyone making that claim. Check for relevant licenses and insurance – some states require a license for duct cleaning while others don’t.
  • Check Standards: The NADCA provides guidelines for professionals and customers on safe duct cleaning. If your ducts are insulated, the professional should also follow the guidelines of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA).
  • Verify Results: You should be offered a complete visual inspection of the HVAC system and ductwork, either in person or by remote camera. Make sure every single duct is clean, and insist on an inspection of the inside of the HVAC unit, before paying for the service.
  • Don’t Get Fooled: Keep in mind that intake ducts (room ducts that return air to the heating/cooling unit) are likely to be dirtier than supply ducts (which deliver conditioned air from the HVAC unit), since they often don’t have filters. Make sure any “before-and-after” photos are of the supply ducts, where it’s most important that the air is clean.
  • Avoid Sealants and Sprays: Both the EPA and the NADCA recommend against the use of sprayed sealants or other potentially harmful chemicals inside air ducts. Biocides and anti-microbial treatments are also iffy, since the chemicals may cause more harm than good to your health. No chemicals are currently registered with the EPA for use inside ductwork.
  • Avoid Steam Cleaning: Any kind of duct cleaning involving steam or moisture should be avoided.

Further Information

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70 Comments on “HVAC Duct Cleaning: Scam or Worth It?”

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  • Lori Woods Says:
    August 19th, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Had our ducts cleaned late April, 2016. Sodium Chlorite was sprayed into ducts after cleaning. Ever since, we have been bothered with eye and nasal passage irritation because of a “chemical” and “musty” odor. This odor is present whether or not a/c is on.) We are told the sodium chlorite (“EnviroCon, manufactured by Bio-Cide International) is used in hospital and nursing home settings and is not hazardous to health. The air duct company’s suggestion is that they come out and spray even more sodium chlorite…we absolutely don’t want this done! Have had various other recommendations about what we need to have done to remedy our problem. We will be unable to stay in our home if a resolution cannot be found. We’d be willing to replace the ductwork if necessary. (One professional suggested that the cleaning may have “knocked something loose” inside the ductwork and that is the source of the irritant.) This home was built in 1920…no idea when the present ductwork was installed. Any suggestions would be appreciated.



  • Beverly Webb Says:
    June 2nd, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I have been told by an excellent company that duct cleaning is never recommended. They said it only damages the duct work and is not really necessary. It was not recommended at all ever. Your comments about this would be appreciated.



  • David Wahlberg Says:
    May 17th, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Quality and price should come hand in hand, a too-good-to-be-true price for an efficient air duct cleaning will not give you the quality that you wanted. To make sure you are getting your money’s worth, check reviews of air duct cleaning companies, certifications from industry since this work requires continuous learning due to new techniques and research breakthrough from time to time. My mom is located in Arizona and they trust J&M Restoration air duct cleaning company, they have an A+ BBB rating, they used EPA approved sanitizing agents, their technicians are NADCA certified, and the company is certified by the Institute of Inspection, cleaning and Restoration. Make sure to shop around and get written estimates first.



  • Patrice Austin Says:
    May 13th, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Quality and price should come hand in hand, a too-good-to-be-true price for an efficient air duct cleaning will not give you the quality that you wanted. To make sure you are getting your money’s worth, check reviews of air duct cleaning companies, certifications from industry since this work requires continuous learning due to new techniques and research breakthrough from time to time. Make sure to shop around and get written estimates first.



  • Ernie quiles Says:
    March 7th, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    We are a hvac company that provide air duct cleaning service are minimum charge $400 to do a proper air duct cleaning with 2 techs avg 3-6 hours that includes sanitizing. I get phone calls all day about the $99 your not going to get much of a cleaning for that price it for them to get there foot in the door and up sell that the only way for them to stay in business. Just from my 15 years of duct cleaning experience.



  • Terry Says:
    February 6th, 2016 at 8:44 am

    As I type this, I am having my ducts cleaned. About 30 including returns and the furnace. $543.00. I am watching the team do it and can see the clear vacuuming tubing and how dirty it has become. I like the gentleman’s comment on “stick your head in your vacuum and breath”….I get it. The team showed me the machine and it’s filtration system…and they will show me it again after the cleaning. However, like I said before, I am actively seeing the tubing that is clear before they start and how dirty it is once they begin and continue cleaning. Reputable company and not a “fly by night” coupon service. People don’t be so cheap, that is your problem.



  • earlene Says:
    January 26th, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I am 79 years old, bought a condo & spent a lot of money on it. this winter my first bill was 450.00. had my furnace checked out, which is on the roof. it was old rusted out & leeking oil. i talked to owner & had new unit installed. they came out to clean ducks & they were split & worn out. there is no crawl space because theres a unit above me. my real estate lady or this company will not help me fix this problem.



  • Hank Says:
    January 25th, 2016 at 11:40 am

    I recently did some remodeling and figured I’d get the air ducts cleaned in our 12 year old home. After obtaining 4 estimates between $572 and a whopping $3,075 for 25 vents and 2 air handlers, I knew I was in for a ride. I read through this blog and decided to use a $79 inspection camera I just found online (Home Depot) to take a look at all my ducts by removing the ceiling grilles first and then try to get into the ducts from the other end. From what I have just learned here, I believe that will take care of my “concerns”.



  • Mike vitti Says:
    December 28th, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I spent a lot of time reading all these posts and frankly I can’t believe the way some people think. 1. If there is dust and dirt of any kind in my HVAC system I want it out, the mentality that it can stay there and it’s fine is fulish as the system turns on and off microscopic particulates will move in and out of your living space and you will definitely breath them in. The air quality of your home or office will only be as clean as the system that produces it. We don’t not clean things simply because we can’t see them, it’s what we can’t see that can do the most harm. Dust will build up in a system fairly quickly and will get damp at times allowing mold to grow and mold releases spores without any movement as part of its defense meconisam so don’t tell me that when your system turns on it won’t blow the spores out into the living spaces of your home. A build up of dust will cause failures to your system over time, equipment that works harder to do its job will run hotter with more strain and this will lead to brake downs and until then the system will run less efficient then it should. The system was engineered to move a certain volume of air through a specific duct size, when that duct size starts to become narowed down with dust build up your system has to work harder to move that air this is why you will end up with a loss of efficiency and eventually breakdowns or failures. I have seen systems develop a significant amount of dust build up in as little as two years, just look at how fast the filter gets clogged up and it isn’t all that hard to believe. As for all the scams that are out there they hurt the industry because people can’t decipher between them and the legitimate companies, BBB is helpful. Recommendations from HVAC contractors will be a good resource and a good company will provide a written estimate with a complete brake down of what they are going to do and why, most of which is comen sence once they explain it to you, then if you spend about 5 minutes watching them once they are set up you can see they are doing what they said they would do and let’s get real would you do a job that should take approx 3 hours per system for $29/$39/59 or something close to that, if you think you are going to get a good job from a comp that has to make money at that price you shouldn’t be mad at anyone but your self for trying to get quality work at a scam price. If it’s done right it will be very beneficial and depending on the size of your system and where you are in the world it’s going to cost you approx $300 to $600 per system large and or older systems may cost even more. Remember a quality job isn’t wasting money but a lousy job is, even if it’s only $29. I’d rather spend $600 on a quality job then $29 on a lousy job!! Good luck..



  • Kenneth N Amend Says:
    December 25th, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I noticed a lot of negative feedback, though unfortunately there are many dishonest companies out there. I currently work with a company that cleans duct work and we DO NOT use any scare tactics or up sell services or equipment. Once every 10years of course there are exceptions. We clean supply, returns, air handler, housing, motor, and fan. Though be discerning when qualifying anyone to work in your home. I would ask for REAL REFERENCES to contact.



  • kristine Says:
    December 23rd, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Our house had an electrical fire. The room that it happened in had no air ducts in it. Landlord already tore down the room that it happened in. Smoke did get into my daughters room which has air ducts. Does a whole house need to have all the air ducts cleaned. My Landlord is saying it doesn’t



  • zbeast Says:
    November 16th, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I’m really not convinced that duct cleaning is of any value. My roommate wanted the ducts cleaned so he called some company. My scam senses is already tingling. They came in with a big negative pressure fan. Did some blowing and sucking in different vents. Then they tried to upsell a full system cleaning. They wanted to pull the blower and clean the heat transfer box at $700 per heater unit. I have a big house so we have two units. They also tried to sell us some “custom” $250.00 Air Lifetime air filters. At that point I pulled the BS get the hell out bell. After paying $520.00 for just the cleaning, I paid the bill and sent them on their way. I replaced the existing filter with the good old and cheap paper filters at $10.00 each. Duct cleaning… I’m not Impressed.



  • Rajesh Says:
    October 8th, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Had my air ducts cleaned with company named WellDuct in Edison New Jersey, total cost was $450. Have a two floor condo, technicians said the system was never cleaned, it took them about three hours. Since I am just moving in, I can not tell the difference. They collected about 3-4 pounds of dust, is that normal amount or should be more?



  • Sue says Says:
    October 2nd, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I called a company name “GREEN RHVAC” with their $29.00 one system air duck cleaning. When the guy came with a truck I asked him to tell me how much he will charge and he said that if he gave me price and I didn’t want the service then he would charge me $89 or he would tell me how much he charge me after he finished the work. I immoderately sense that I made mistake to call him to my house. To cut my lost I asked him to give me the price and it was $1600 for two systems house. I paid $100 to him for my lesson to learn and search online to find this site is very helpfully and I should do it before to call anyone for air duck cleaning.



  • Jason Says:
    September 22nd, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Well, I had the cleaning done. The handler is definitely much quieter. It was explained to me that with the coils clean, the condensation will be able to sweat off instead of sticking to the dust and dirt, therefore the humidity (lots of humidity in florida) will be removed better. I feel as if it was worth it, but, I will definitely change that filter every 3 weeks or so from now on. I don’t want to pay that cost again.



  • Jason Says:
    September 17th, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Hello,
    I just had my blower module replaced because my AC coil was frozen over. The underside of my coils had a thick mat of dust because I had never had it cleaned. I cleaned it myself by using a soft brush attachement on a shop vac. The inside of the blower appears to have a white/green growth, and I am sure the ductwork of my 30 year old house can’t be in good condition.

    The technician that replaced my blower module said I could definitely benefit from a professional cleaning of the handler and the ductwork, which makes sense. They are going to charge about 500 dollars and bring a crew of people out.
    Getting to my action question, he also said if they suspect/find mold in the ductwork, they are required by law (I live in Florida) to replace the ductwork. This is the part I am calling bs on.

    Maybe I took him to literally but I am pretty sure cops wont show up to ensure that my duct gets replaced. He said it would be over 1000 dollars to replace the ductwork if that is the case. Now, I spoke to a friend who did 2 ductwork lines on his own in his attic and he said it was like 15 dollars for the plastic wirewound tubing to create new ducts. Should I cancel that appointment and just do the work on my own? I feel like I’m a chump or lazy for considering paying someone to do this work.



  • Everardo Says:
    September 10th, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    So much negativity on these comments. Sure there are some bad companies. Use BBB rated companies or other locally rated outfits. Not every company is bad.



  • Clarence Carpenter Says:
    August 14th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Specifically, do dryer vents (4″ round) need cleaning after 18 years? If a 4″ elbow equals 5′ of vent length, I have the equivalent length of 32′ from dryer to exterior outlet. I know lint can be a fire hazard.



  • Franklin Whittemore Says:
    August 5th, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Had phone solicitation to clean ductwork for $55.00. After reading comments here I called and cancelled appointment. They still tried to tell me it was a good thing.



  • helen Says:
    July 19th, 2015 at 10:29 am

    I just had my Air ducts “cleaned”. The person who came to my house works for an air duct cleaning company who uses a professional vacuum. He said the company would charge me about $900 but he can do it aside on his own and charge me half of that. However, when he came over the house, he brought the rotary brush along with his domestic vacuum cleaner that it’s hose was about 5 feet long, I ask him that the wasnt strong enough to pull dust out, and he said, it’s similar to what companies use. I was in doubt and he didnt cover the vents so im thinking all dust must have come out from every air vents. Could this vacuum have taking the debris out of the air ducts? Or how can I myself find out if the inside of the air ducts have been cleaned and no debris is sitting there? I have dust all over my house.



  • Dolores Says:
    July 18th, 2015 at 10:59 am

    What about ringworm? If the fungus is as contagious as doctors warn, and the spores can live several months, doesn’t it make sense to spray some sort of fungus killer into the HVAC system to kill the spores that it has sucked in from the air? Duct cleaning would not be helpful at all here; these spores are microscopic and it could actually spread them further. But given how severely contagious ringworm is, body and especially scalp, does anyone make an aerosol product that will clean the system and kill the fungus? One the resident can use, not call an HVAC company; you can’t do that when you are in an apartment. I hear it’s not the same as mold, it is much more difficult. Truth?



  • Rhena Lukawitz Says:
    July 11th, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    I have been told I need to replace my duct work. Air conditioner froze up, duckwork was full of water, and they had to pierce it to release it. They want $550 to replace. I live in a modular home with crawl space underneath.



  • sam Says:
    July 11th, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    i got angies list deal for 109 air duct clenaing, dryer vent cleaning, and furnace inspection, {healthy duct cleaning} i call the company, they arrive on time. did excellent service what ever i purches i got. they give me furnace inspection and the told me that my furnace is very dirty and they offer me to clean that for 250 extra. i paid and i am very happy from this service. i try before 2 diffrent company that i got deal from them as well the just give me estimate and don’t even do the job. so guys don’t spend time if you need deep cleaning just cal this guy the offer free estimate as well.
    highly recommend !!!



  • Connie Says:
    June 19th, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I had someone out to clean my ducts last weekend. He took a blue bag up in my attic. He came back down in just a few minutes and said I had mold and he even showed me a picture of something saying it was mold but I couldn’t really tell. I refused his service to take care of the mold. He went back up in the attic for a little while and then came down. I never heard any sounds that he was actually up there doing anything. How do I know if he actually cleaned the air ducts?



  • Cheryl Says:
    June 8th, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Thinking of buying a home where filter is very dirty and dirt on ceiling near outlets. Should i run?



  • Jeff Says:
    June 2nd, 2015 at 7:20 am

    I guess I should present my credentials first, I am a 30 year veteran of the heating and cooling industry. I started at the bottom and have participated in every area of the trade. Installer, service, maint. Ownership, rep, territory manager and so on. A forced air duct system is a large vacume. Like your vacume it has an air intake (return air) and an exhaust (supply registers). A filter just like a vacume (located next to furnace or air handler). Now I want you to visualize something. Put your head inside your vacume cleaner and breath. Get the picture? This is what your duct work looks like. Do you clean your vacume when it’s dirty? If it’s full and the filter is dirty you lose performance and it starts poluting the air you breathe. It’s common sense. I recommend hiring a duct cleaning outfit that you have researched to be honest, background checked, drug tested, insured, and highly recommended by your piers in the area. The service is a necessity, but like everything, it should be done by a qualified company.



  • Rajni Says:
    May 31st, 2015 at 11:32 am

    The review was very helpful. I saved 300 or more $ for unnecessary stuff. Thank you.



  • Alex Says:
    May 25th, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Air duct cleaning is not a scam, It is a matter of hiring the right company to do the job. It has been proven by many reputable sources that air duct cleaning is necessary to improve indoor air quality. Before you hire an air duct cleaning company make sure to ask them if you can obtain some before/after footage of their previous projects.



  • Sheila Hill Says:
    May 23rd, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    I forgot about a pot of sweet water I had on the stove to boil. When I finally smelled it the kitchen and dining room I=was smoke filled. I mean thick smoke. I opened doors and windows for a few hours to remove the smoke but the smell is still here and terrible. I had to use the AC and that smell started coming out of the vents. Now what do I do? I have COPD emphysema so I have to be very careful about what I inhale. I already have inhaled too much smoke from all of this which has hurt my lungs even more. I can’t afford for them to get worse over this. How can I get the right person to come out and clean the ducts and furnace or is that the only way to remove that burnt smokey smell. The pot never caught on fire but it sure did produce a lot of smoke. I already have replaced the filter on the furnace. It needed it even though it had just been replaced just last week. I need help or really my lungs need help. Who do I call here in Indpls IN.



  • Ray Says:
    May 21st, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I can’t believe I got ripped off by this Air Duct Cleaners. I called them for this $63 coupon per furnace unlimited vents then when they came after he checked it all I hear is I have molds and leak all is worth $499, $799, $899 per furnace but I told him to just clean the duct and patch the single leak per furnace worth $38 each. Still eanding $899 total. All the work he done is in less than an hour he didnt even go to each vent to clean it. All he did is to path the air leak on that entry pipe to the furnace and open the main venting system, vacuum it, and wash the floor of the vent with a solution. Overall time is about 20 mins talking with me discussing all the option which thinking they made me think I don’t really have an option and 40 mins wash and vacuum he took pictures of before and after of only one furnace. He gave me a receipt without the details on what he has done in the house just the name and price. I think we may need a strict law to punish and control all this companies who do this so other company who do good will despise them.



  • Angie Says:
    May 9th, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Had duct cleaners here coupon for 40.00 for complete home I was not here but my husband was. I told my husband that they will prolly ask for more money and I was right. 85 extra to do duct cleaning which I pled because my dryer vent was full of animal hair extensions then for 600 to clean a/c coils I said no. Just do what the coupon said. Do your homework be 100 steps ahead of these con men rember they con people all day long and know the ans to your objections



  • anonymous Says:
    April 15th, 2015 at 2:06 am

    I did the $49.00 Groupon they just left. Basiclly all they did was stick a shop vac type hose into the vent supply and one return. I also had the dryer done. the person in charge pointed to the main return inside my humidifier and said it needed cleaning



  • David Says:
    April 2nd, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Hello, I have been in the HVAC trade for 27 years owned my own company now for 26 years.

    #1 The dust you see on the ceilings from the vents are bad window/door seals or seals around the vent to the drywall. NOT FROM INSIDE THE DUCT.

    #2 If you are getting little greyish chunks out of the vents you have holes in the ducts or the Blower Wheel is caked with dust or is rusting and coming apart.

    #3 The ONLY time Duct cleaning is needed is when the home had a fire, Bad roof leak on to FIBERGLASS ductwork or house sat vacant for many years with out the air running. And its better to replace than to do “abrasive” duct cleaning. If the duct cleaning has a rotating brush it will remove part of the glue that is holding the Fiberglass in the ducts together, PERIOD no matter how much the say it don’t because the brush is soft.

    #4 If you see an ad for a service that seems to good to be true, It 100% is. They use these ads to get in the door to sell you $100’s of services that truthfully you will not get even if you pay for them. It is a scam trust me I deal with these guys all year long here in Florida.

    Good luck and stay cool..



  • Paul Says:
    March 16th, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Hi guys if your not convinced yet that duct cleaning is a waste of time. I’m a HVAC business owner install heaters and air conditioners. Simple facts if you have an old system get a new return air fitted with a filter it will catch all the dirt and dust. If you still have as many do black flecks and stuff coming through it is the lining inside your ducting that has perished. So somewhere you have a hole or very old ducting. If you had rats etc its a hole somewhere. To clean, stick your vacuum in the outlet and push the hose as far as it will go this gets 99% of toys and coins fur and alike. Think about it if the object is not heavy it will come out the duct when unit is on. Service the heaters or air con units but not the ducting. I would go further to say that duct cleaning actually damages the ducting in my opinion.



  • doug Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 7:43 am

    be sensible when paying for the service and you will be fine. Ask questions like you should when someone is in your home that you don’t know. Duct cleaning is effective. Just be smart about who you let into your home.



  • doug Says:
    March 14th, 2015 at 7:39 am

    The fact is if they are dirty why not clean them. As for the Dr’s comment about if it is not disrupted it is fine. As a pet owner sometimes un disrupted pet hair will sit in the corner of a room or under a counter un disrupted but I still clean it when I notice it. Just because you cant see it doesn’t mean you should leave it there to collect more and more. The people that don’t want there air ducts clean either simply cant afford it but would like it done. OR! the crowd that are to cheap.. You should Clean all portions of your house.



  • kevin grady Says:
    March 2nd, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Here in Atlanta we get 6 to 10 $49 coupons in the mail weekly…I have always consider them a complete scam….just had my master bathroom& bedroom and guest bath completely remodeled down to the studs…Had my 3 returns nearest the area sealed to prevent sheet rock dust to spread…it worked and I personally cleaned all 7 returns when a 5 HP , new Rigid shop Vac($99 from HD)…took one hour and I found little evidence that “I need my ducts cleaned” Had quotes from $400 to $600…I use the best air filters for my air handler and change it every 2 to 3 months…..any dust is trapped in it and I believe the Air Duct folks are all cons….



  • James Caskowski Says:
    March 2nd, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I did the $49.00 Groupon they just left. Basiclly all they did was stick a shop vac type hose into the vent supply and one return. I also had the dryer done. the person in charge pointed to the main return inside my humidifier and said it needed cleaning. I explained that I was in facility maintaince and would deal with it myself. After that they finished the vac and didn’t try any other sales pitch. I should have read the reviews before I bought this wast of money and time.



  • Florence Wilt Says:
    February 25th, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I live in Port Orange, FL. I purchased a double wide mobile home and was saddened to learn that the previous owners were HEAVY smokers! They did a good job “hiding” the smoke smell the day we viewed this place. I did not have a home inspection done unfortunately. My question is: can duct cleaning remove the smoke smell from this place. The ceilings have been treated with Kilz and paint. I personally scrubbed down every wall, floor or surface. I also purchased a ODORFREE OZONE machine. It seemed to remove the odor for a short period of time but my friends are again complaining about the “smoke” odor in my home. The Ozone machine was $400 and I’m terribly upset that it didn’t clean the air as was promised.

    Please advise me on what steps I can take to rid my home of this cigarette smoke! I called Stanley Steemer and they want a fortue to clean my air ducts. I need your HELP,
    Thank you, Florence Wilt



  • Rita Says:
    February 18th, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I paid $49 for a groupon. When the guy came today, he did an inspection first and said the ductwork first needed to be treated for mold; $348 for a spray that would last 8 months or $680 for an UV light purifier that would last 2 years. Also, the furnace needed to be cleaned for another $260. When I told him to just clean the ductwork, he said I would owe an additional $305 because the groupon was only good for 1 return and I had 2. I sent him packing with no services performed. Thankfully I am only out of $49! I will complain to groupon.



  • Winklbauer Mechanical Service Says:
    February 9th, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I own a small mechanical company. My main work is service and system replacements. I have never been a believer in duct cleaning. The company I worked for before had our duct man come out and do my house. I saw no difference. Preventive maintance is what I recomend. Remove fan and clean, seal fan compartment to prevent dust from being pulled in, filters I install media filters, they are 5″ thick and pleated. I have tested them to make sure static presure was not a issue. Heat exchangers and AC coils need to be cleaned. I will tell you this to do a good cleaning I usually spent 1-2 hrs, When I’m finished I would not have a problem eating my diner on the system. Good filters, clean system and properly tuned up are my recomdation to anyone. I’ve included my email feel free to contact me with any questions. winkcfd@yahoo.com



  • Navaratne Says:
    February 7th, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I thought the price advertised at 129.95 for duct cleaning was great and called to clean our ducts. When they came in to do the the job I could not be home and my wife dealt with them. My wife ended up paying 954.00. They convinced my wife that there was 1.5 inches of mold built up on the Evaporators and coils. It is not the money, my wife could not go to the basement to witness the mold build up or the coil fouling. We have not cleaned our ducts for at least 10 years. The last price we paid for our duct cleaning was 150.00. My concern is that they told my wife not to turn on the heat for 2 hours due the strong chemicals they used to kill the mold. Are these chemicals approved as safe?


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    January 28th, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Amanda,
    Sounds like you dodged a bullet. If they were that unorganized about showing up, just think what kind of job on the ducts the would have done!



  • Amanda Says:
    January 28th, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I purchased a Groupon for cleaning of unlimited air ducts and one return vent for $39. I should have checked into their hours first because they only offer services during normal business hours. So, with no evenings or weekends available you have to take time off work. I asked Groupon for a refund when I realized this and they refused because it wasn’t within the three day window. Then they didn’t even show up or call for the appointment. I called them after they were an hour late and they were going to call the local dispatch office and have them call me back within 15 minutes. I did not receive that call. I called again and was told I would get a call back from a manager. That didn’t happen either. So I asked Groupon for a refund again and they gave me Groupon bucks. When the survey came asking if I was satisfied with the Groupon customer service I said no, I want real money. I got my real refund the next day. Seems to me Groupon should stop dealing with these companies.



  • Kevin Says:
    January 28th, 2015 at 9:22 am

    John – a properly maintained negative air machine has 3 stages of filters, ending in a 99.998% Hepa filter. The loose dust gets sucked into the duct cleaning machine & through the filters. If any dust is entering the home, the machine is not well-maintained.



  • Peggy Schmidt Says:
    January 10th, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    We have an extraordinary amount of dust everywhere within 2 days of dusting. Had ducts cleaned about 2 1/2 months ago. We’ve never had this much dust before.



  • John Says:
    December 27th, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I reiside in the NE and lived in house for 43 years and avoided duct cleaning due to concerns about the amount of dust etc that would inevitably blow back into house after being disturbed. Is that valid?
    The preponderance of remarks indicate there is no health concern if ducts not cleaned. Is that valid?
    What degree of inefficiency can occur if not cleaned and to what extent would that affect operating or wear and tair costs?
    My ducts could be 60-80 years old and furnace 4-5.
    Thanks for professional opinions.



  • Jesse Says:
    December 26th, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I had my ducts somewhat cleaned December 22, 2014. The hose of the machine the technitian used did not fit in some of my vents, therefore, he did not clean them. But I still paid $428.00 for the service. I will be calling the company on Monday, and kindly ask them to come back and clean the ducts they did not as they did not fullfill their part of the service.



  • Sandy Hayward Says:
    December 19th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    NEED FEEDBACK: I have an appt scheduled for this Sunday from Clean Fresh Air Service Inc. located in Toronto. The offer is $48.00 for up to 10 vents (reg. $199.99). Reading the reviews I am leary.



  • ILI Says:
    December 18th, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    fact is most homes have bad filter racks. when you insert the filter it doesn’t seal well to the sides so some of the air and dust bypass it and end up in the supply ductwork and into the house. Most of the dust in the supply ductwork settles down and doesn’t get blown in the house but some of it does when the blower starts up or when you put a new filter. If you have allergies or other health problems put in an electronic air cleaner, get your ducts cleaned and run the fan as much as you can afford. you can also get an ECM motor installed which is going to be worth it if you want to run the fan 24/7. If you have uninsulated metal ducts take down the ones you can and wash them. Then put them back and seal the joints. Cleaning the ductwork also improves airflow which is important to AC and Heat pump systems for efficiency. An electronic air cleaner will also improve airflow and static pressure because they usually have a much larger filter surface area. An electronic air cleaner also keeps the ac coil clean like new which means better efficiency and no cleaning needed. AC furnaces sometimes grow mold around the coil because of the condensation. Electronic air cleaners should be able to filter mold spores but the best remedy is installing a UV light next to the coil which will kill the mold.



  • James Says:
    December 18th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I have lived in Calgary for quite some time now. When I first moved here I couldn’t stand the humidity levels. Its like a desert come winter. When I first moved into my new home, the house inspector insisted I have my furnace and ducts cleaned. I was very sceptical about duct cleaning to begin with. The company I hired came on time and were very respectable from the start. Before mentioning anything they asked me what my concerns were and what issues I was having. They were more concerned about addressing my issues then bringing anything non related up. I ended up going with this company and getting a humidifier installed a couple days later after the cleaning. Its been almost 4 years now that I have been here. The humidifier is working great and the difference is incredible. They took me around explained step by step what they were doing and the reasons they were doing it. With all those other companies out there, I am glad I found them at this site.
    Take Care
    God Bless



  • Molly Says:
    December 17th, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Glad I came across this site! I was just about to fall for a $29 full cleaning on Groupon. Realized my Air Ducts probably don’t need to be cleaned… 🙂



  • Robert Stratoberdha Says:
    December 14th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Hi,
    I have a very disturbing situation in my house. I live in a 2400 sq ft home. Every day without exageration, there is dark gray lint on the floor .
    My wife is very upset ,end it is realy very nasty. Please,any comment or suggestions ?
    Thanks



  • aubrey Says:
    December 9th, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    I was told that 15 out vents would be cleaned and one main vent. the guy came over and gave me an estimate of $500. I had acquired a groupon for $49. the guy said just doing the out vents and one main vent would accomplish nothing. Now I am in dispute with the groupon people for a refund which they won’t give and have to go ahead and waste the money and let them do it. Is their doing the 15 outvents and one main one going to accomplish anything?



  • Steve Says:
    December 4th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Duct cleaning is a complete scam, I was a “duct cleaning technician” for a whole week before I was fired for not upselling elderly widowed women $2000 extra for “toxic mold remediation” when their ducts were spotless to begin with. The last two days I was employed there I worked as a “helper” alongside a technician thats been with the company 7 years. He scammed every customer on mold and would at times get as much as $2500 extra for treating “toxic mold” in a typical 3 bedroom house in the suburbs. Wait…it gets even better, the “Biocide” the company used was simply a cheap $4.99 per gallon bought at Home Depot air freshener with no anti-microbial properties that was fogged into the HVAC system for 5 minutes, maybe using 1/2 cup of the stuff. In order to provide the customer with evidence of “mold infestation” the technician would be given bogus mold tests that always resulted in “toxic spores present” regardless if you swabbed the actual duct or nothing at all. Not to mention the actual duct cleaning job (typically $400) did basically nothing and the homeowner could’ve done a better job with a shopvac



  • Barb Says:
    November 22nd, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Just had my air ducts cleaned. They used a high pressure air hose in all the heat ducts and cold air returns. He showed me the stuff that came out, the reason for the duct cleaning was the fact that I had a problem. With rodents. There was quite a few mummified rats and mice, and he said I wouldn’t have to have them done again unless I incur another problem or have renovations done. Cost me 345.00 for a 2 storey large old home. Not a bad price as I had them done when I moved in 28 years ago and it cost me 500.00. Lots of dog hair, toys, balls and assorted goodies came out as well. Took them 2 hours. I did have sanitizer put in the ducts because of the dead rodents.



  • Jaden Wills Says:
    November 20th, 2014 at 12:18 am

    It’s 11 years plus in the industry I have only had to sanitize two systems both were slab systems that were in concrete and could be cleaned with a different method than normal duct cleaning. We were able to use water to rinse out the disinfectant. Would you use a chemical on anything else you use to eat or drink with and not rinse it off? The ducts in your home should be thought of as your homes heart and lungs and breathe the same air that you do. And just like us we wouldn’t use bad chemicals in our lungs and heart.



  • NEM Says:
    November 12th, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Thanks to everybody who left comments here, especially Krunk and Shania. I have been offered a position in an HVAC company and after reading the above comments, my decision is to apologize. I’m not going to be a “professional con”!



  • Annie Dee Says:
    November 5th, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    My vent covers have lots of mildew. They look bad! I live in a very humid climate in a condo. The handyman here has offered to take those down, wash them, sand, & then spray paint them with a mildew resistant paint. He said that he will leave them off overnight to dry. I am wondering if this is safe to breath the AC blowing out into the open all night??. ! Guess it is better than the mildew!?



  • Brenda Says:
    November 5th, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Furnace worked fine prior to duct cleaning. Within 2 hrs after duct cleaning guys left, noticed it getting chilly in house. Furnace had not been running since they left and would not come on. What’s the chance that duct cleaning in an older home could lead to having to have a blower control board replaced at an expense of $382.00?



  • Raj Says:
    November 3rd, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Bought Amazon Groupon deal for $29. Guy walks in and estimated $900 for all air duct and dryer vent. Then comes down to $600 with free dryer vent. I refuse, he calls office and deal is now $250. I still dont want and his final deal is Ducts and all returns for $100. However, no Brush cleaning, no tapes on vents, no HVAC blower clean up.



  • Kathleen Says:
    October 28th, 2014 at 5:53 am

    I purchased one of those Amazon air duct cleaning coupons for 49.99. When the company showed up, they removed the vent closest to the air intake and immediately told me I needed $1800.00 for all new duct work. They said they could not clean the system until new duct work was installed. I thanked them and said I would give them a call. The only call I made was to Amazon to get a refund. I know I didn’t need new duct work. Be careful to not fall for unscrupulous salesmen and their pitches and scare tactics.



  • Ed Says:
    October 21st, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Daryl,
    Please record the sales pitch you receive and post it up here. I’ve heard such stories about the coupon deals (either not showing up or hard selling upgrades), it would be great to hear how it goes for you.



  • Daryl Says:
    October 20th, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I’m having my duct work cleaned this Saturday. Have a coupon for $49 through Amazon. Job normally $249. Had my basement remodeled about 18 months ago. The contractors were very thorough at blocking the vents, as far as I can tell. The offer is for HVAC and dryer vent cleaning. My house is 11 years old. I figured, $49 is not much. I appreciate your tips on not getting talked into any additional service, not to use solvents to clean, the certification information and before and after pictures. Very useful and I’ll be sure that all I spend is the $49 for the voucher.



  • Jim Says:
    September 27th, 2014 at 6:00 am

    This was an excellent review. With some very good
    Advise. Thank you for saving me 890.00.



  • J Gaines Says:
    August 31st, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I just moved into a 1200 sq ft townhouse. Within 2 hours there’s a film on my glasses. It is high humidity and high Temps outside so I have the ac on. I think there’s a lot of dust, but I don’t think there’s mold, although there is a strange smell in here. What do you suggest?



  • shania Says:
    July 30th, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Furnace cleaners are mostly young men, I know this, I have been one for 15 years or so……so heres the truth, if there are any allergies, children, older people with health issues, we are GOING to make money. do not tell the company you have hired about any health complication. they are salesmen. and they don’t care about you. or your money. make sure they do a good job, then kick them out. you don’t need all the bells and whistles they wanna sell you. any idiot can clean duct work, like I said, I am one of them. I am very good at it, but I don’t have the back bone to sell a widowed old lady a humidifier that she doesn’t need for 500 bucks, overall, if you think you need this service done, which you probably don’t, get it done, do not spend anything over 300$ and do not do it again for at least ten years.



  • Janice Brown Says:
    March 27th, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Had duct cleaned (apartment) however, dust is still settling throughout the apartment. Contractor said no other cleaning necessary until two (2) years. Is there a time period before dust no longer settles prior to that time? Should the vendor had worn a mask? He did not cover his face the vents and dust was blown throughout the apartment (had family help with the cleanup). I had to leave when they left because I have asthma and I couldn’t breathe without coughing. Please help!



  • DR Krunk Says:
    December 18th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I have worked with dozens of HVAC companies over the years as an operations and sales consultant. Duct cleaning is one of the lowest-risk highest-profit services an HVAC company can offer,and it is almost always a completely unnecessary waste of a homeowner’s money. Period, end of story.

    If there is stuff in the ducts, the fact that it’s laying there and not being blown into the rooms is proof positive that it is hurting no-one. The 5-6 exceptions you cite in this article I’ll buy, but only with the caveat that at least some of those could have been avoided by proper protection (during remodeling for example) – and if asbestos/lead/whatever winds up in your ducts- the remodeling contractor should be the one paying to remove it.

    And if you have flex duct and/or fiberglass ductboard in your home- the last thing you want is a big brush or anything abrasive running through it. Even high-pressure air can erode ductboard so I wouldn’t clean it with anything. If it becomes contaminated, get rid of it and install real ductwork. If your ductwork is accessible in the basement – the best thing to do is take it down and manually clean it if it’s full of junk. It’s not going to cost a nickel more to do that than to pay $500-1000 for a ‘duct cleaning machine” AKA big blower and vacuum – to do the job.



  • Al Says:
    October 26th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Very helpful


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