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Air Duct Cleaning: What Should It Cost and Do You Need It?
If it’s been some time since your last air duct cleaning, you’re probably tempted to get someone to sanitize those ducts so you will get cool air throughout your house in the spring and summer.
But before you do, you want to arm yourself with some knowledge to avoid falling prey to air duct cleaning scams!
In this article, I’ll let you know how much an air duct cleaning should price, if you need it, the way to choose a business and how to avoid some common scams.
Here’s What an Air Duct Cleaning Should Really Cost
Don’t treat a thorough duct cleaning as an add-on support to a carpet cleaning. Baker says be prepared for the job — and you should expect to pay a few hundred dollars — up to somewhere in the neighborhood of $500.
That price should also include cleaning your dryer vents. “A quality duct cleaning firm will and should clean your dryer vents, too,” Baker says. “They’re also ducts!”
To find reputable companies for duct cleaning, Baker suggests checking with the industry organization National Air Duct Cleaners Association.
1. Know When a Duct Cleaning Is Necessary and When It Isn’t
Baker recommends an immediate duct cleaning when you move to a newly built home.
“There’s lots of construction debris. Sawdust, drywall scraps as well as Doritos bags may wind up in the ductwork of a newly built home,” he says.
After that, Baker says a duct cleaning should be performed every seven to 10 years — unless you have someone in the house with breathing issues.
If that’s true, then Baker advises another route.
“You should get your HVAC provider to improve your furnace filtration situation. That is money better spent than on a yearly or every two-year duct cleaning scam.”
2. Make Sure Your HVAC System Will Is Cleaning, Too
“A quality duct cleaning is not, in my opinion, complete without getting your HVAC system cleaned at the same time,” Baker says.
But here’s the thing: Duct cleaners aren’t legally permitted to touch your HVAC unless they have a present HVAC license.
The company must give you the permit number upon request. That is not a good sign if they won’t.
While we are on the topic of HVACs and dust, most HVAC maintenance plans include regular changes of the furnace filter. But changing the filter between visits – usually every three months — will help keep your system running at peak efficiency and lower dust.
How to Modify Your HVAC Furnace Filter
Not sure how to modify your own HVAC furnace filter? The first thing to do would be to remove the existing filter out of your furnace. Take note of the filter size. It’ll be something like something or 14x25x1.
Remember to put the filter back when you’re done — at least until your new one is ready to install.
Next, head into the store or look online for a replacement filter. You can get a good one for anywhere from $5 to $20 in a home-improvement or big-box store. Filters may be even carried by your neighborhood supermarket in sizes. Than at other areas, but the costs will be higher.
If you’re noticing a lot of dust or other allergens in your home, it may well be worth it to pay the few extra bucks to have a filter with a higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating.
MERV ratings are on a scale from 1 to 16 for most residential applications, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles it will trap and keep out of your lungs.
As soon as you’ve got your new filter, then you’re prepared to take the old one and put in the new one. We’ve got a DIY video here to guide you through the easy procedure.
3. Beware of Unsolicited Pitches
Here’s how this one works: A company calls you and says that they will be in your area next week. They offer to clean your ducts for some other outlandishly low price or $25.
Baker is not buying it. “This has so many issues with it just on the surface — you can not even get a pizza delivered to your house for $25 for one thing — that it yells SCAM!”
Baker says he has gotten these calls himself. Here’s what he discovered after trying to set an appointment up:
“I pressed the woman on the phone the last time they called and told her I was curious. I agreed to set up an appointment, then asked to call. After much back and forth, she gave me a 555 number that was bogus. We did hook up.”
4. Push Back on the Mold Scare Tactic
Some companies will put a mold test kit in your house to convince you that you want your ducts cleaned. But you’re likely scaring.
If you’re told you have a mold problem by a duct-cleaning firm, Baker recommends buying your own test kit in a home-improvement store to independently verify what they are saying.
And there is an additional caveat here.
“Every decent mold test kit will detect mold in every house every time because there is mold in the air everywhere — unless you live in a hospital. So you can not just go by the findings of a store-bought mold evaluation to determine whether your house has a severe mold problem,” Baker notes.
“Mold is not the only reason to clean your duct work however. [Ducts] do get dirty over time and may result in getting more dust in your home. Dust is just a fact of life, as everything emits dust”
An air duct cleaning shouldn’t be treated as an add-on to a carpet cleaning visit. And while it can be costly to have it done right, an air duct cleaning is not necessary for many people.
So it’s wise to budget for the real price of a legitimate cleaning every seven to 10 years. Of course, if someone in your house has breathing difficulties, you’d want to do it more frequently.
Meanwhile, make sure that you’re hiring legitimate businesses by checking with industry trade groups like the National Air Duct Cleaners Association.