Air Quality | HVAC Air Duct Cleaning: Necessary or Not? Pt. 2
Air Quality |HVAC Ducts
- Clean main supply duct and branch distribution ducts;
- Clean return air ducts;
- Seal all installation access panels in ducts (as needed for tool access) according to NADCA standards.
Grills and Diffusers
- Remove and visibly clean supply registers and return air grilles;
- Clean furnace supply air plenum and return air plenum;
- Clean furnace heat exchanger;
- Remove, clean and reinstall blower motor; housing & assembly;
- Check humidifier media and drain pan;
- Clean evaporator coil, drain, and pan drain;
- Ensure cooling coil is visibly clean and drain pan is clean and draining properly;
Furnace Air Filter
- Replace air filter or wash permanent media air filter.
Be prepared to pay around $500 to $1,000.00 for a professional duct / HVAC system cleaning servicing, more or less depending on the location, size of your home and scope of what is cleaned. It will usually take 2 technicians 3 to 5 hours to clean the ducts and the HVAC system.
SCAMS: Beware of the “Blow and Go”
Problems emerge when duct cleaning is not performed properly. And not being performed properly often resulted from hiring someone who promises to give you a cheap $50 “whole house special” or makes a sales pitch based on broad generalized claims on the health benefits of duct cleaning. Some may even falsely claim to be EPA (environmental Protection Agency) certified which the EPA does not provide, or say the EPA recommends duct cleaning which it again does not recommend.
Be aware of what are called “blow-and-go” salesmen / “contractors” who you may find in those mail-pack coupons. They usually accompany an offer to assess or clean your home’s ducts for a very cheap price, say $49.95 or even less. As they often work on commission they will try high pressure sales techniques to sell you on expensive add-on services (mold testing, etc) or other service upgrades or charge for duct restoration, branch duct cleaning, etc. Some may even falsely claim they found mold in your ducts. Complaints abound about some unscrupulous “blow-and-go” companies using air fragrances, false mold tests showing positive results, hand held dust-buster vacuums, using simple drills with brushes, creating air borne dust and not sealing service access holes cut into ductwork.
I know the allure of a low price can be attractive but do the math! You cannot get 2 qualified service technicians with a truck and proper equipment and insurance to go to your home to service your ducts and HVAC system for 4 hours and do this work for $50!
Here is an interesting duct cleaning scam expose video done by NBC Dateline on duct cleaning scams.
Duct cleaning is an emotional sell. You want good air quality for you and your family and intuitively cleaning the ducts in your home makes sense. Some marketing photos of dirty ducts can look pretty scary. But the reality is that ducts only needs to be cleaned in rare cases, when there is serious contamination in them and then the entire HVAC system should be cleaned, not just the ducts. Cleaning ducts is easy to do wrong and that is where the risk lies. Hiring the wrong contractor can do more harm than good, and falling prey to “$50 Whole House Specials” in those coupon books you receive in the mail is a sure way to invite a bad experience.
Properly performed by a qualified technician, HVAC system cleaning including duct cleaning, has not been shown to be detrimental, but again, that’s if it is done correctly and by a certified technician with the right equipment and training.
At the end of the day, the EPA sums it up by saying “Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts.” -About
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