An air duct cleaner cleaning ductwork.
Light brown laminate flooring.

A 9-Step Guide to Help You Hire an Air Duct Cleaning Service

What to Know About Air Duct Cleaning Services

Your home has ductwork woven throughout its walls in order to distribute heating and cooling in its rooms. Naturally, this ductwork can be long neglected, accumulating decades of dust and debris. Air duct cleaning services entail a professional contractor cleaning your home’s duct system.

Do You Have to Clean Your Home’s Ductwork?

It’s not a requirement but consider this: if your home was built over 100 years ago, there is a solid chance that those ducts have never been cleaned. That’s pretty gross! A good solution? Hire someone to clean your ducts.

If that alone does not convince you, then perhaps an improved overall quality of air in your home or a more efficient furnace will. For allergy or asthma sufferers, a thorough duct cleaning can change life at home for the better. For homeowners whose homes once belonged to fervent smokers, air duct cleaning services can do the trick in removing that stubborn smoke smell.

What to Know About Duct Cleaning

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) advises cleaning your home’s ductwork every three to five years. While the EPA does not have a specific time as to when you should have your ducts cleaned, the agency does recommend having it done if your home suffers from mold growth, a critter infestation, or if your home has a substantial amount of dust and debris.

Generally speaking, if you move into a centennial home, you can assume its ducts have not been cleaned, making move-in time the perfect opportunity to have this done. The same goes for post-renovations, especially if drywall dust has invaded all the nooks and crannies.

Hiring an Air Duct Cleaner

It does not have to be an overwhelming task to find a professional to clean your home’s ducts. There are, however, a few guidelines you should try to follow that will help you avoid those rare sleazy companies who are simply out to scam you out of an obscene amount of money.

1. Get at Least 3 Quotes

The three-quote rule is a tried-and-true method used by homeowners for any kind of contractor. Looking for someone to fix your garage door? Get at least three quotes. Looking to hire a house painter? Three quotes. Hiring someone to clean your air ducts? You guessed it — three quotes. It’s a good number of estimates to find out if you are being overcharged by one or if another seems too good to be true. According to the EPA and NADCA, air duct cleaning costs about $400 to $1,000, depending on where you live and the size of your home.

2. Ask Friends and Family

One of the best ways to find a good, reputable contractor is to ask your friends and family. While you will want to vet the company you hire, asking for referrals from trusted family and friends is a solid start in you hunt for an air duct cleaning contractor.

3. Turn to the Internet

Ah, the internet. It’s a place where people do not hold back how they really feel. It’s a double-edged sword reading company reviews, but if you are lost in finding duct cleaning professionals, it is a starting point, nonetheless.

4. Ask for Proof of Liability Coverage

After getting a couple estimates and narrowing down your choices, it is time to vet the companies. The majority of states do not require air duct cleaners to obtain licenses but asking for proof of liability coverage can help establish the company’s reputation. If the unlikely event of house damage occurs during the job, you could be responsible for the expenses if the company does not have this coverage.

5. Ask for References

You’re free to ask for references of any contractor you are looking to hire, and for the involved job of duct cleaning that could run up to $1,000, you have every right to check them.

6. Avoid Tempting Low-Priced Ads

That ad for whole-house duct cleaning for under $100 that seems too good to be true? It is. This is a common tactic sketchier companies use to get you on the hook. Once they get their foot in the door, they are quick to talk about the cost of extra returns. It’s for this reason that vetting contractors is so important.

7. Check the Longevity of the Company

You can get an accurate reading on the reputation of a duct cleaning contractor by checking to see if they have been around for a while. Companies that have an online presence but no physical one raises some serious red flags. Also be wary of companies that change names frequently, it could mean they are escaping a poor history.

8. Read the Fine Print

Bigger companies or companies that employ the old bait-and-switch ad routine tend to have extra costs hidden in their fine print. It’s okay to be upfront and ask them point-blank if what is quoted is what you are actually going to pay.

9. Say No to People Who Won’t Do a Thorough Job

There are some contractors who skimp on the duct cleaning by just sticking a vacuum in the vents and hightailing it out the door after. There’s much more to duct cleaning than vacuuming the vents. A reputable duct cleaner will service the entire system (the NADCA states a contractor should put the system under negative pressure for a proper cleaning) and cleans out the furnace and air conditioner.

A Little Research Goes a Long Way

The hardest part in hiring any contractor is the footwork it takes to find a good one. Luckily, in the day and age of the internet and its brutally honest review platforms, you will have no trouble getting a few companies to seek out. Let common sense be your friend and avoid suspiciously low pricing and money-grabbing companies, guiding you to a professional duct cleaner and a happier, healthier home.