Cleaning air ducts can be costly & unneeded

Putting your trust in the wrong air duct cleaning company could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars for unnecessary work.

Here’s some advice from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association about when and how air ducts should be cleaned.

EPA says that cleaning air ducts has never been shown to actually prevent health problems and that it should be done on an as-needed rather than routine basis. NADCA says the frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, an important one being the preference of homeowners. They may consider whether:

There are smokers or pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander in the household.

Residents with allergies or asthma might benefit from a reduction in indoor air pollutants.

There’s been water damage to the home or system or they’ve been renovated.

If no one in your home suffers from allergies or unexplained illnesses and a visual inspection of ducts doesn’t reveal large deposits of dust or mold, cleaning them may not be necessary. Check with a doctor if you think a family member’s symptoms or illness may be related to the home environment.

EPA says you should consider having your ducts cleaned if:

There’s substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.

Ducts are infested with vermin.

Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into your home from your supply registers.

Dusty registers are not necessarily an indication of a problem. It’s a normal condition since dust laden air is pulled through them. They can be easily vacuumed and cleaned.

EPA and NADCA recommend that you not hire duct cleaners who make sweeping statements about the health benefits of duct cleaning. If they say there’s contamination in your system, ask them to show it to you. Don’t be pressured or intimidated by scare tactics citing hazards to your health.

Be wary of ads that tout low prices for cleaning your ducts. They’re sometimes bait-and-switch offers — after the technician inspects your system, the price suddenly goes up hundreds of dollars. EPA says you should expect to pay $450 to $1,000 depending on the services offered, the size of your system, accessibility, the climate, and the level of contamination.

NADCA warns consumers to avoid “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies. They may charge a nominal fee and then do a poor job. EPA and NADCA agree that a poor job is worse than no cleaning job at all because it can kick up particles or even damage the system.

If an air duct cleaner says he needs to treat your system with a chemical biocide, ask him to show you proof there’s mold or other contamination and explain why it can’t be removed by physical rather than chemical means. You and your pets may want to vacate the house while the ducts are being treated.

Cleaning all of the components of your system may improve its efficiency and extend its life. It may also result in some energy and maintenance cost savings.

Check out any duct cleaner with the Better Business Bureau and get a written estimate of everything they recommend doing.

Randy Hutchinson is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South. Contact him at

Category : Blog &Latest News

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Founded in 1988 by Bert A. less, Leco Realty has a staff of seven full time employees and a full complement of crafts and maintenance vendors. Still a family owned operation, the company manages over 1,500 units in the Memphis metropolitan area. Read More


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