“I hired a company to clean the furnace air ducts in my house. They advertised they could do a whole house for $79. But when they finished they claimed that I needed much more work and charged me over $400 more! What a racket!” Consumers in the GA area often see ads promoting heating system duct cleaning. But we at the BBB caution about unsupported health claims and too good to be true prices. Here are some tips from the National Air Duct Cleaning Association and the US Environmental Protection Agency:
* Since conditions in every home are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home would be beneficial. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that air ducts only be cleaned on an as-needed basis. Does duct cleaning prevent health problems? No one knows and research continues.
* Use caution in dealing with companies that advertise gimmicks such as $49.00 to $99.00 “Whole House Specials.” NO ONE can provide a professional air system cleaning to include the cleaning of the air handler, blower, coils and the entire duct system (including the vents) for these prices. The whole intent for this type of ad is to get into the door and then sell more expensive services and/or products.
* A legitimate firm should FIRST examine your heating system, then give you a written estimate. Although homes vary considerably, a typical three or four
bedroom home will require 4 to 8 hours for cleaning.
* The EPA says that “duct cleaning services typically – but not always -range in cost from $450 to $1000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climactic region, and level of contamination” and type of duct material.
* The EPA also says: “See if the company has been in business long enough to have adequate experience, and inquire whether the
company is in good standing with your local Better Business Bureau.” To do this, visit the BBB local web site for your area.
a. Pricng for duct cleaning should not be done over the phone…it needs to be assessed first. Why? Duct systems have a tendency to be unsealed causing the ductwork to get filled with dust again..they may need to be sealed first..then cleaned & sanitized.
b. HVAC systems in Atlanta, GA usually the supply & return plenums are made of fiber board and should be replaced with metal, because fiber board breaks down and it is a food source for mold growth inside the plenums…so cleaning fiber board will make your air quality worse, in turn wasting money.
c. If the duct work is flex then they should not be cleaned because it is very difficult to try to clean thoroughly and they could rip behind ceilings and walls, thus causing a bigger problem. Generally you will find replacing the flex duct work is a better alternative, getting them sealed properly and installing a decent air purification system with at least a MERV 11 rating. Failure to catch the dust, dirt & debris with a good central air purification system after the duct cleaning, again a waste of money. With air purification on your system after duct cleaning, changing the filters in a timely manner and ensuring that your duct work is sealed properly not only will you breathe better air quality…you should not have to clean them again for at least 7-10 years.
Imprtant tips written by Joe Maglio-C.I.E