How much does air duct cleaning cost?

 Ask potential air duct cleaning companies to provide you with a written checklist of exactly what they will do, and if you hire them, ask them to verify each task as they complete it. (Photo by Jennica Abrams)

Ask potential air duct cleaning companies to provide you with a written checklist of exactly what they will do, and if you hire them, ask them to verify each task as they complete it. (Photo by Jennica Abrams)

Dear Angie: I’m looking to have my air ducts cleaned but I’ve seen prices vary from $99 to $800. I have not been given an explanation that I believe as the reason for the price difference. What are your thoughts on the reasons for the wide range of costs? – D.C., Landisville, Pa.

Dear D.C.: My advice is simple: avoid those low-ball offers. Companies offering a super low price on air duct cleaning might do more harm and no good. The fact of the matter is this: the average air duct cleaning for most homes costs between $300 and $500, with factors like the size of the home, the number of ducts and their configuration affecting the price.

Here’s the problem with those $99 specials (we’ve actually seen them advertised for as low as $49): What typically happens in those scenarios is the company offers this great price, usually in the form of a coupon, in order to get in the door. Once inside, they almost immediately find other problems –black mold is a common scare tactic used by unscrupulous contractors – or they try to upsell the homeowner on additional services. Those who fall prey to these ploys often pay upwards of $600, even into the thousands.

I’ve talked to many homeowners who have been victimized by these scams. Even the ones who don’t succumb to the high-pressure techniques are still frequently wronged, as these low-ball companies often use inadequate tools and equipment – like handheld vacuums and drills – to do the work. They quickly go through the house, vacuuming out a few vents, and are gone in less than 30 minutes. A legitimate air duct cleaning should take three to four hours to complete, according to reputable duct cleaning companies that I’ve spoken to.

The majority of good air duct cleaning companies use outdoor vented equipment, so all the dust and debris they capture is vented and contained outside the home. A duct cleaner who uses inferior equipment can actually cause more harm by agitating and releasing more dust into your home, or worse, damaging your ductwork.

If a company tells you that you have mold in your air ducts, that could be a red flag. I recommend sending that company on its way before any work is done and having a qualified mold testing firm out to your home to verify if in fact mold is present. If so, the tester can provide that information – and a protocol for removing the mold – to a separate mold remediation firm.

Unfortunately, the air duct cleaning industry doesn’t have many regulations. Most states don’t have licensing requirements for air duct cleaners – Pennsylvania doesn’t – so it’s important to do your research and hire a company with a good reputation. Check online reviews and ask for referrals. Ask potential air duct cleaning companies to provide you with a written checklist of exactly what they will do, and if you hire them, ask them to verify each task as they complete it. Qualified air duct cleaners will follow strict standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association and should be happy to show you their credentials.

Angie’s List collects about 65,000 consumer reviews each month covering more than 550 home and health services. Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angie’s List to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at askangie@angieslist.com


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How much should air duct cleaning cost for a two-story home?

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Angie's List member Richard K. of Southfield, Mich., submitted this photo of his dirty air ducts prior to a scheduled cleaning.
Angie's List member Richard K. of Southfield, Mich., submitted this photo of his dirty air ducts prior to a scheduled cleaning.

Dear Angie: I want to hire a reputable air duct cleaning company. What should I expect to pay for a two-story house with about 20 vents and two air conditioner/furnaces?

Comments

I have been in the IAQ field for 30 years and have seen it all. I've used truck mounted equipment, portable equipment ( the general ) and portable hepa vac equipment with 3500 cfm to 5000 cfm, can suck up a 16 lbs bowling ball. With all this suction power you would think that a little dust in the duct would be no problem. The National air duct association states that without agitation ( rotary brushes) the dust will still be adhered to the inside surface of the duct. So I guess what I'm saying is that Nadca certification is key along with the proper procedures.Consumers can go to the NADCA Website for more great information.

lo everyone. I read your Experience. I can say, with good reason since i m an authorized technician of air duck cleaning, that Angie is absolutely right. in order to do a proper cleaning of the ducts serve the means and the proper time. usually for a normal house with a single system the amount payable is between 350 and 550 dollars and the time goes by dirt inside but always not less than 2 hours to clean everything. I regard cupon I can tell you that some are valid and offer the right price for the performance. I also read mold in ducts, before we tell the customer that there is mold perform a test that is analyzed in the laboratory and only after 3 days, with the result of the analysis of paper, inform risk and if the customer is okay proceed with the sanitation of the duct with certified products of the highest quality, just think that the product that we use costs 55 dollars a gallon. but I'm not here to make me adverts, I feel sorry for people who have had bad experiences, I personally love my job and I try to always do it in a proper manner.

I too received bad duct work service..;.. My intention was to use the $59.99 coupon for unlimited vents and 1 return. I have allergies so I wanted to make sure I cleaned out everything that is needed. The technician says that the coupon doesn't include the furnace and the main trunks which turned out to be an extra $270 (and that I needed to have this done). On top of that I was charged $130 for a blower housing cleaning of which they used the shopvac to blow air in the ducts push the debris and dust. On top of that I was charged $200 for Sanitizer and Mildicide. I only saw the technician use a white spray bottle to spray the vents and return (so I don’t know if the contents in the bottle contain both chemicals). He also used a drill attached with a cord. At the end of the cord it was a brush to I guess loosen the dirt in the ducts. After this, a vac was used to suck the dirt. He asked for my phone so he can take before and after pictures of only the return vent. His partner cleaned the furnace of which didn't let me see how it looked after. I was charged an additional $40 for the Lifetime Electrostatic Filter (he said it was originally $120, whatever). Lastly he wanted to install a UV light to take out the mold for $600, but I declined. When they left there was dust on my TV stand the upstairs hallway (under the return vent), and mostly in the furnace. I had to replace my filter immediately since they use the shop vac to blow in the air duct technique. I plan on requesting a refund.

I too received bad duct work service..;.. My intention was to use the $59.99 coupon for unlimited vents and 1 return. I have allergies so I wanted to make sure I cleaned out everything that is needed. The technician say that the coupon doesn't include the furnace and the main trunks which turned out to be an extra $270 (and that I needed to have this done). On top of that I was charged $130 for a blower housing cleaning in that they used the shopvac to blow air in the ducts push debris and dust. On top of that i was charged $200 for Sanitizer and Mildicide, of which I saw the technician use a white spray bottle to spray the vents and return. He also used a drill attached with a cord. At the end of the cord it was a brush to I guess loosen the dirt in the ducts. After a vac was used to suck the dirt. He asked for my phone so he can take before and after pictures of only the return vent. His partner cleaned the furnace of which didn't let me see how it looked after. I was charged an additional $40 for the Lifetime Electrostatic Filter (he said it was originally $120, whatever). Lastly he wanted to install a UV light to take out the mold for $600, but I declined. When they left there was dust on my TV stand the upstairs hallway (under the return vent), and mostly in the furnace. I had to replace my filter immediately since they use the shop vac to blow in the air duct technique. I plan on requesting a refund.

I agree with the first post, you should always avoid the scams of companies just trying to get their foot in the door. With our company personally we will give an estimate over the phone based off of sq ft and how many vents, and when we give a price quote that's what it will be. I am a firm believer that you should know the exact cost before you have something done. Also the time is also correct, it takes time to go into someones home and do a great job. Anyone who is there less than one and a half hours should not have been there in the first place.

Hi there Just read your response on cheap air duct cleaning specials and you hit it right on the head. I called a company that advertised its "spring special" in the val-pack coupons we get every so often in the mail. They advertised $89 for up to ten vents and then $9 for each additional vent. The main trunk lines were $25 each. Everything was fine and the tech who came out was very good in explaining what he would be doing. Of course he showed me that he did a mold test (which they do for free) and the results of the test were that we had some serious mold. The cost to clean this would be $20 per vent. We have 30 vents throughout the entire house. In addition he mentioned the blower motor of the furnace needed cleaning which was an additional $250.00 if I wanted to do it (because it was so hard to get in and clean it). I initially said yes to the blower cleaning and "give me a minute to think about it" on the mold clean up. After about five minutes I went down to tell him no to the blower and no to the mold clean up and he already had the blower out and had started cleaning it. He said no problem he would put it back and then came back up later to tell me he texted his boss and that his boss would offer the mold cleaning for half of what they usually do and he cleaned the blower motor for free since he already had it out. I ended up going ahead with the mold cleaning which I probably should not have but with four kids i figured i should get it taken care of. Probably a rip off but who knows. When it was all said and done this is what I paid for a house with 30 vents and 6 main trunk lines: $409 + $89 to clean a dryer vent + $300 to treat mold in vents = $798.00 hope this helps others

I agree with the first post, you should always avoid the scams of companies just trying to get their foot in the door. With our company personally we will give an estimate over the phone based off of sq ft and how many vents, and when we give a price quote that's what it will be. I am a firm believer that you should know the exact cost before you have something done. Also the time is also correct, it takes time to go into someones home and do a great job. Anyone who is there less than one and a half hours should not have been there in the first place.

hi tom im in the air duct cleaning for 20 years you where scamed,,it does not cost to treat mold 300 dollars,if thiers mold in ducts it would not be at the regersters only,,sorry,,i just read your post,,,anthony

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