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Is Duct Cleaning Beneficial? How Much Does It Cost?

Updated: Jan 12

Duct cleaning is a service that tends to draw some extreme opinions from people. “It’s a waste of money. It’s a scam! Don’t advertise your duct cleaning scams in our Facebook group.” …on and on.

Is Duct Cleaning A Scam? How Much Does It Cost?

We’ve heard different opinions from customers, as well as other HVAC contractors. We want to let you know what we actually think, and what you should do when it comes to duct cleaning for a home or a business.

Is Duct Cleaning A Scam?

In short, NO, duct cleaning is not a scam. As with any product or service you can buy, the potential is definitely there to get scammed. There are plenty of bad contractors out there that will take your money and either never show up, leave the job incomplete, cut corners, etc. As a consumer, your options for recourse are few, and none are easy. It’s best to do some homework and ensure you are dealing with a reputable company that is also insured.


Is duct cleaning a scam? Absolutely not! Some people may think, “Oh this is another way for a contractor to nickel and dime me.” The truth is, duct cleaning is not a scam. Just make sure you have a reputable contractor who has some experience, and the proper tools to clean the ductwork.



Is A Duct Cleaning Worth The Money?

As long as you have the right people cleaning your ductwork, then yes duct cleaning is absolutely worth the money.


I’m sure if you ever change the filters on your home HVAC system, you’ve noticed that dust and dirt can accumulate on the filter grill. When it looks bad enough, most people get motivated to clean it off. They clean it off because it’s unsightly, and having dust float around the home is unhealthy.


Most people don’t change the filter frequently enough. In fact, sometimes it’s forgotten about for months. Dust can get through. Also, approximately 10% of the air flows around the outside of the filter; therefore it is unfiltered. You can see this when you pull the filter out by the piles of dust that collect around the edges of the slot where the filter sits. This dust flows through the duct system and gets deposited along the liner.


Another point to note is that most duct systems leak a little. Some (more than just a few) leak a lot. When you have a leak on the return section of the duct system, it actually sucks air in from the environment into the return duct. If the duct system is in a dirty crawl space or an attic, that means that crawl space air or attic air is being pulled into the duct system downstream of the filter.


If your system has floor registers, dust, dirt, hair, small objects fall down into the supply ductwork. We’ve pulled several pounds of cat food out of a duct system before.


Over time, a lot of dust, dirt, and debris inevitably will collect along the inside of the duct system. If you don’t mind breathing in bacteria, dirt, dust, allergens, and maybe even some Meow Mix, then it is a waste of money to clean that up.


If you don’t want your HVAC system pushing that dust back into your house, and having all of your conditioned air blow over that constantly, then it is not a waste for you. Duct cleaning keeps your HVAC system working more efficiently, and really improves your indoor air quality.


The air inside your home can be up to 5X dirtier than the air outside, and a big reason is because of the airborne irritants that linger in the air, especially in the winter when the windows are all closed. Cleaning the ducts in your home reduces the amount of dust and debris in your home, making this air cleaner, and flowing easier throughout your home.

How much does it cost?

You will find a lot of variation in duct cleaning costs in the marketplace. There are many non-HVAC companies that do duct cleaning as a side gig. There is a lot of variation in how the duct cleaning is performed also. Some companies use a “brushless” system that pulls a vacuum on the system. We use the Rotobrush system. We snake a rotating brush throughout the entire system while pulling a vacuum. The brush pulls the dirt off the inside wall of the duct and the vacuum sucks it away.

Duct Cleaning Requires The Proper Tools

We can’t comment on the brushless systems directly. What we can comment on is our own experience. When we first began duct cleaning, after a number of jobs we realized that our team was moving the brush through the duct system too quickly. The brush was missing some of the walls. We discovered this on our own viewing our videos. When we realized this was happening, we retrained the team to slow down to ensure all sides of the ductwork are being brushed.


We also went back to the house we had already cleaned and recleaned them at our expense. Our conclusion was that if a brush is not swiping the dust and dirt off the duct lining, all of it likely will not come off from just a vacuum.


We pride ourselves on doing it right, and taking our time to ensure it is thoroughly cleaned. Therefore, we will never be the low price option for duct cleaning. In the market, you will find prices as low as $300-$400 and as high as $1800. The $300-$400 price is typically provided by carpet cleaning or restoration-type of companies. Our pricing will be in the $1000 ballpark for basic duct cleaning and close to $1500 for enhanced duct cleaning.


The basic includes dust and dirt removal in all of the supply registers, supply duct runs, return grills, return duct runs, and the plenums attached to the equipment. The enhanced duct cleaning includes the basic scope plus a sanitization treatment of the duct system. Additionally, the enhanced includes cleaning of the dryer vent. The lint that collects in the dryer vents is highly flammable and should be cleaned routinely.


There are things that can go wrong during a duct cleaning that leave the duct system damaged. You want a qualified HVAC company engaged to cleanly cut into the duct system when needed for cleaning, and a proper repair when completed. Additionally, HVAC personnel will identify issues that may be present with your duct system such as excessive leakage, insulation issues, and potential cleanliness issues with the equipment that we can address.


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