Adam Ketterman says he suffered from a nagging, dry cough after some drywall work created a lot of dust in his home. He scheduled an air duct cleaning and immediately felt his symptoms improve.
Adam Ketterman, Homeowner: “I did feel a lot better physically right after the duct cleaning like within two to three days. I noticed it was like flipping a switch, so I was kind of excited about that.”
There is no scientific evidence that regular duct cleaning improves air quality, but some consumers have reported that when they have their ducts cleaned, they experience fewer allergy symptoms and cleaner air. Air duct cleaning is designed to remove air-borne dust and debris from the air duct system components of HVAC, forced air systems, gravity heaters and other related systems.
Dave Adams, Alpine Group: “This is the hose for the negative air machine that pulls about 5,500 cubic feet of air per minute. We cut into the supply and the return side. We push through the system. The debris comes through the system, hits this hose and then is carried outside to the negative air machine filter and all of the debris is captured outside so nothing will be inside your home. So this is our negative air machine where the suction or the vacuum hose leads into this. When it’s on, it fills up and all the debris that we get out of your ducts is collected right here.”
Angie’s List says you must do your research when hiring to ensure you are working with a reputable contractor. Beware of bait-and-switch tactics that advertise an unbelievably low rate and then immediately start tacking on up-charges or using scare tactics.
Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder: “One of the more common things that we hear about with air duct cleaning comes down to pricing. It’s important for consumers to get written in-home estimates because a lot of times air duct cleaning is based on either the square footage of the home or the number of vents. A typical air duct cleaning might cost anywhere from $300-$500. If you find you’re being offered a really low price, you’re going to want to question it.”
There are a couple of ways to tell if your air ducts are dirty.
Dave Adams, Alpine Group: “One of the easiest ways to find out is to take the vent cover off, stick a camera phone down there and take a picture. They are going to be able to see down the duct. Another sign is if the house is dusty a day or two after cleaning the house.”
RELATED: Angie's List Guide to Air Duct Cleaning and Air Quality
What have your experiences with air duct cleaning been like? Tell us about them in the comments below.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted Sept. 13, 2013.