Is Air Duct Cleaning a Scam ?

Dryer Vent Cleaning Sarasota
Dryer Vent Cleaning Sarasota

Having been in the HVAC industry for over 25 years, spending 15 of those 25 years involved in indoor air quality including Duct/HVAC cleaning, I often feel there is a general perception that duct cleaning companies are a scam, and that duct cleaning in itself is ineffective. However, I know this to be an opinion rooted in misinformation and based without merit as we have helped thousands of homeowners improve the air quality in their homes with laboratory certified results. While there are certainly some bad companies that produce poor results, HVAC & Duct Cleaning when performed correctly can dramatically reduce respiratory sensitivities in your home or office.

So how do you know what company to trust? Here are a few signs that you are interviewing the wrong duct/HVAC cleaning company.

  1. PROPER LICENSING TO PERFROM THE WORK: The company does not have their air conditioning contractor’s license, why is this so important? Most homeowners don’t realize that the supply grill position controls the amount of air that comes out of it in (CFM’s) cubic feet per minute. If you are not properly trained at CFM’s there is a good chance you will not set the grills back up properly causing hot and cold spots throughout the home, possibly making comfort issues you never had before. Not to mention, in the state of Florida you must have your air conditioning contractor’s license to properly clean air ducts. You can check the following link for details,…/services-requiring-a…/ you will see services requiring a DBPR license. Click on the construction Industry link, as you scroll down you will see where it says needs a DBPR license, the 5th column down talks about air duct cleaning and they are very clear on who needs a license. What if the contractor states he or she is qualified under another contractor’s license? That tells me this person was not able to get their own license and this could be a huge red flag.
  2. TO GOOD TO BE TRUE: We have all heard the saying, if it is too good to be true it probably is. Again, I have been in this industry for a long time, and it is not possible a duct cleaning can be done properly for $299.00, never mind an (HVAC) Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning cleaning as well. This is a tactic used by bait and switch companies to get in your home and try to upsell you on additional services, NOT solutions. With sending out two technicians and the amount of labor it takes to perform just a duct cleaning you can expect to pay between $400 – $700 and there are many variables that are taken into consideration that determines pricing.
  3. DUCT CLEANING VS HVAC CLEANING: Before we dive too deep into this topic, Is the company you are interviewing licensed properly to be able to clean all parts of the HVAC system if needed? Duct cleaning typically only includes the cleaning of the duct work and requires general labor. HVAC cleaning includes parts of the Air Conditioning system such as the blower motor, evaporator coils, heat strips, insulation, wires and drain pans. This requires a skilled Air Conditioning Technician with years of experience and that skilled labor increases the cost vs a company that is providing only unskilled (general) labor. This is where duct cleaning begins gaining a bad reputation, because in order to have the desired results, often the duct work and HVAC system need to both be cleaned. Why would you clean one without the other? In most cases, if the Air Handler is dirty, so is the duct work and vice versa. A true HVAC cleaning is an investment, and the cost can at times reflect this. What price would you put on the air that you breathe? The average cost of an HVAC cleaning done properly in the state of Florida is anywhere from $600 – $1,200. As you can see there is a large gap in pricing on this service. Factors like, where is the air handler located at, can the evaporator coil be cleaned in place or does it have to be pulled from the machine to be cleaned, how easy will it be to remove the blower motor or is something in the way? All these factors play a huge part in pricing for HVAC cleaning.
  4. PRICE OVER THE PHONE: The company you contacted is willing to give you a price over the phone without coming to see what part of the HVAC system needs to be cleaned. This is the one that floors me the most. I so often hear people tell me they hired a duct cleaning company, and the company did a horrible job. The first thing I ask, did they come look at your system and give you an estimate. Almost always, the answer is no, how can someone give you an accurate price if they don’t know what they are cleaning for or what process will need to be used. Not even a home cleaning service will come out and clean your home without first coming to your home to see how big it is, the type of floors and furniture that needs to be cleaned.
  5. WHAT TYPE OF EQUIPMENT IS USED: In the 15 years that I have been performing HVAC/Duct cleaning I have used a variety of different equipment to perform this service. Not all Duct or HVAC system can be cleaned the same and for this reason you need a variety of equipment to perform this service properly. For example, duct board, we use air to clean this type of duct work instead of brushes as to not damage the surface of the duct board. For flexible duct work we use soft bristle brushes that have been specifically designed to clean this type of duct work without damaging it. When it comes to metal duct work you can use either brush or air in most cases. However, the one piece of equipment you will never see us use is roto brush. There is a plethora of reasons why we will never use this equipment. The major reason is the damage I have personally seen this equipment cause to duct work.
  6. CERTIFICATIONS: I would NEVER recommend hiring any Duct/HVAC cleaning company that is not NADCA certified. NADCA stands for National Air Duct Cleaners Association and is a non-profit association of companies engaged in the cleaning of HVAC systems. NADCA members have signed a code of ethics stating they will do everything possible to protect the consumer and follow the ACR (Assessing, Cleaning, Restoration) NADCA standard, for cleaning to the best of their ability.
  7. REVIEWS: what are the companies reviews, are they BBB accredited? A lot of companies are going away from the BBB as most consumers are now looking at google and Facebook reviews. It has been my experience in life, try as we might, we cannot please everyone. I may be leery of a company that has a perfect record as this may not be legitimate reviews. Our moto at #TIES360 is, you sometimes do not know the integrity of a company until you have an issue and you see how the company responds. At T.I.E.S 360 we will always do are very best to make sure we resolve our client’s issue’s.


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