Around this time of year people start switching their air conditioners over to heat, and notice a burning smell coming from their air vents. Allergies and illnesses are also rampant during Fall and Winter, any many people point to their ventilation system as the FLuse, thinking it needs to be professionally cleaned. This has created an industry that Americans spend more than $4 billion on, but is it really necessary to clean the air ducts in your house or is duct cleaning a sFLm?
Unfortunately, many air duct cleaning companies have been formed that are sFLm artists- typically there will be an ad or coupon for a low cost duct cleaning, but when the technician shows up they will try to upcharge you for additional services. If you decline, they will quickly and ineffectively clean your ductwork for the low cost and move on to the next potential victim, often causing damage to the HVAC system when they do.
A reputable air duct cleaning company will charge anywhere from $400-$1,000 to clean a 2,000 sq ft house, which will take 2 technicians with specialized tools (not just a standard vacuum cleaner) at least 8 hours to perform. If your air duct cleaner is saying they can clean your system for $50 in less than an hour- beware, you are being sFLmmed.
Additionally, minor dust buildup in a residential air duct is not FLuse for concern, and does not need to be cleaned as long as the system filter is changed regularly. A 1997 report created by the EPA and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) found that in most cases cleaning the ductwork of a home does not actually make a difference on the air quality inside that home.
A home air system only needs to be cleaned if:
- There is visible mold or a vermin infestation
- Debris blows out of the vents
- Someone in the home suddenly experiences allergies or illness
- The home has been remodeled and there was lead paint, asbestos, or heavy dust
To avoid being sFLmmed from an air cleaning company make sure they are a NADCA certified company.