In some older homes, there was a grey Mylar flexible duct. After years of use, it started to decompose. A duct cleaning company can come out and find why your air is so dirty and why your building doesn’t heat or cool like it used to. This is a savings on your part. You could also be sucking in Hot, dirty attic air. However, sometimes when a duct cleaning company comes out to clean it, the old duct can be destroyed and have to be replaced. Someone with little experience can replace this ductwork but if it isn’t done right it can ruin a lot of things and cost a lot in repairs.
The renters in my rental home complained of the dryer needing 2 cycles to dry their clothes. I called out Arizona Air Duct to clean the vent. Well, $75 later the issue is not fixed. I had another company come out. They pulled out a section of the vent to show me- there's maybe half the piping still coated in lint. (I wish i could post pictures here...) They refused to refund my money, so I'll be filing a small claims suit. AVOID these scammers. I'm not sure what 'work' they even did!
Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Make sure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of substantial standing water and/or debris indicates a problem requiring immediate attention. Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots.

They arrived within the time range I was given, and they even called about 20-30 minutes before arrival, so that was appreciated.   They arrived and started bringing some equipment - A shop vac (yea, like you can buy at any hardware store), a handheld vacuum cleaner, and large vacuum that came in on wheels.  After showing them the locations of all of the vents in the home and cold air returns, the technician (Simon) started going over a few things with me about their plan for cleaning and showing me the dust & dog hair build up in one of the vents.  After showing me that, he started to try to up-sell me on additional services. That additional service was to insert a 'brush' that would agitate the dust/pet hair and allow for the vacuum to get everything out of the vents.
I purchased a Groupon to have the air ducts cleaned at my home by Best Air DC here in Cincinnati. When I called to redeem the deal, I was surprised to learn that I had to make the appointment 5 weeks out because they had no availability. I didn't think much of it since they had the Groupon deal out there. After the service, I've now realized they have deals out on at least 2 other "discount deal" websites. and the funny thing is they have different regular retail values - $229 & $289 value...for the exact same work! They arrived within the time range I was given, and they even called about 20-30 minutes before arrival, so that was appreciated. They arrived and started bringing some equipment - A shop vac (yea, like you can buy at any hardware store), a handheld vacuum cleaner, and large vacuum that came in on wheels. After showing them the locations of all of the vents in the home and cold air returns, the technician (Simon) started going over a few things with me about their plan for cleaning and showing me the dust & dog hair build up in one of the vents. After showing me that, he started to try to up-sell me on additional services. That additional service was to insert a 'brush' that would agitate the dust/pet hair and allow for the vacuum to get everything out of the vents. I was hesitant to have him do that for the price he quoted me. It would have been an extra $275+ for additional cleaning!! I certainly wasn't prepared for that, so I declined the offer. After his assistant started to use the shop vac to get some debris out of the vents, he came back in and said he was just on the phone with the office and he can lower the price of the additional service for me. He wrote up an estimate for me and said that I could call him if I'd like to do the service. After they left, I was feeling uneasy about the quality of work that was performed. I used a camera to get some video of the vents that they cleaned. They looked pretty good, but then I started to remember how they were cleaning them. They only used their large, commercial vacuum on one vent. They also did NOT clean 2 air returns under Negative Pressure like the Groupon said they would. I did a little research and found that they should have cut open an access point in duct work in the basement and sealed up the vents with plastic to create that negative pressure. To make things even more interesting, I called their number this morning to do some investigation on what they actually do. After I revealed to the girl I had the service done a day prior and that my technician, Simon, didn't clean them like it should be done she drops a bomb on me. Simon is actually the owner!! The whole time, he is telling me that he is on the phone with the office to see if the can get me a better price on the additional cleaning, he is basically full of sh!+. An owner doesn't need to do that - he is just pulling a bait & switch on me. A few positives - Simon & his co-worker were very nice. They did clean the vents, but certainly not the way they should have been done. It saved me from getting my shop vac out and getting a little dirty to do it on my own. He gave me a few tips on making sure I get good air circulation to the 2nd floor of my house. Be very careful, and definitely consider going with a different company if you want your air ducts cleaned. They were in & out in a hurry, which leads me to believe they kind of half a$$ed the work. They're just like a restaurant that turns tables so quickly that the service really lacks. Save your $49 or $59 for the discounted deal and put that towards the cost of a company coming out and doing an actual good job.
If you suspect a mold problem — either because of visible growth or a musty smell consistently coming from supply vents — cleaning ducts won’t do much good if it doesn’t eliminate the mold. Mold begins with a moisture problem, and the ducts themselves are unlikely to be the source. The most likely culprits are the cooling system’s evaporator coils, which your heating and air-conditioning contractor — and most duct-cleaning companies — can inspect and maintain. Leaky return ducts can also introduce moisture. Again, if you suspect a mold problem, consider having a service company inspect the duct system for leaks.
I had them out to clean the ducts, exhaust fans, and dryer vent in my 54 year-old home yesterday.  They showed up a bit early and took their time to ensure that all the grunge was gone.  I must say...they really earned their paycheck with this place!  The father and son duo worked together to remove and clean the register covers, ream out the ducts and vents with a big furry brush/vacuum unit, and vacuum up the mess.  They stated that I had the dirtiest ducts they had encountered in 15 years, and took over two hours to tidy them up, finding nails, copper pipe and assorted detritus and emptying the vacuum bag three times in the process.  They were here over 2 1/2 hours, yet charged the fee they had quoted me on the phone, as promised.  It was not the cheapest price I have seen, but it  seemed fair to me.
I spent a lot of time reading all these posts and frankly I can’t believe the way some people think. 1. If there is dust and dirt of any kind in my HVAC system I want it out, the mentality that it can stay there and it’s fine is fulish as the system turns on and off microscopic particulates will move in and out of your living space and you will definitely breath them in. The air quality of your home or office will only be as clean as the system that produces it. We don’t not clean things simply because we can’t see them, it’s what we can’t see that can do the most harm. Dust will build up in a system fairly quickly and will get damp at times allowing mold to grow and mold releases spores without any movement as part of its defense meconisam so don’t tell me that when your system turns on it won’t blow the spores out into the living spaces of your home. A build up of dust will cause failures to your system over time, equipment that works harder to do its job will run hotter with more strain and this will lead to brake downs and until then the system will run less efficient then it should. The system was engineered to move a certain volume of air through a specific duct size, when that duct size starts to become narowed down with dust build up your system has to work harder to move that air this is why you will end up with a loss of efficiency and eventually breakdowns or failures. I have seen systems develop a significant amount of dust build up in as little as two years, just look at how fast the filter gets clogged up and it isn’t all that hard to believe. As for all the scams that are out there they hurt the industry because people can’t decipher between them and the legitimate companies, BBB is helpful. Recommendations from HVAC contractors will be a good resource and a good company will provide a written estimate with a complete brake down of what they are going to do and why, most of which is comen sence once they explain it to you, then if you spend about 5 minutes watching them once they are set up you can see they are doing what they said they would do and let’s get real would you do a job that should take approx 3 hours per system for $29/$39/59 or something close to that, if you think you are going to get a good job from a comp that has to make money at that price you shouldn’t be mad at anyone but your self for trying to get quality work at a scam price. If it’s done right it will be very beneficial and depending on the size of your system and where you are in the world it’s going to cost you approx $300 to $600 per system large and or older systems may cost even more. Remember a quality job isn’t wasting money but a lousy job is, even if it’s only $29. I’d rather spend $600 on a quality job then $29 on a lousy job!! Good luck..

Simon and co. did a great job cleaning out the ducts in our house. He showed us how they looked before (with about a 1/4 inch of dust at the bottom) and how they looked after (almost like new with not a bit of dust left). He helped us find some drafty spots in the vents and was happy to help us fix those at no extra cost. Very professional and good work.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a government agency, conducted a study in the 1990s to investigate two claims: Duct cleaning makes indoor air healthier; and it reduces energy costs by improving airflow. After testing 33 homes in Montreal before and after duct cleaning, the study found that there was no significant improvement in air quality and that duct cleaning alone did not improve airflow or energy efficiency. In some cases, measured particle levels actually increased immediately after a cleaning. In other cases, particle levels decreased immediately after cleaning but returned to previous levels within weeks.

I have worked cleaning HVAC in my area for almost 5 years. I always do a thorough inspection and cleaning, providing before and after photos. I have completed some jobs where I felt that it was not entirely necessary, but ultimately what the customer wanted. With that being said, I have endless photos of unspeakable horrors. Hotels are usually nasty, post construction mess is certain, pets and kids create lots off debris, bugs congregate and die, then spiders set up and die, I have even had one supply that was nearly plugged with sand!
We bought a short sale home buit in 1987.  The home is gross to say the least. I called last week to set the appt. up once I knew we had a close date. They called to say they were running a bit late, which happens with this type of work. They did great work, cleaned up after themselves, very nice men, cleaned all the vents,fans inside and out. I will feel much better bringing my family into a clean home now.

I own a small mechanical company. My main work is service and system replacements. I have never been a believer in duct cleaning. The company I worked for before had our duct man come out and do my house. I saw no difference. Preventive maintance is what I recomend. Remove fan and clean, seal fan compartment to prevent dust from being pulled in, filters I install media filters, they are 5″ thick and pleated. I have tested them to make sure static presure was not a issue. Heat exchangers and AC coils need to be cleaned. I will tell you this to do a good cleaning I usually spent 1-2 hrs, When I’m finished I would not have a problem eating my diner on the system. Good filters, clean system and properly tuned up are my recomdation to anyone. I’ve included my email feel free to contact me with any questions. winkcfd@yahoo.com


Simon explained the entire process in detail and took the time to show me what they were doing, how they were doing it, and the effects.  In his initial examination of my air duct system, he discovered dust/residue from when the house was built, such as drywall dust.  This was in my air system, and I was shocked.  Not only did they thoroughly clean out all traces of this built up layer of contaminants, but showed me "before and after".  In addition to completely cleaning the air duct system throughout the house (believe me - the inside of the air ducts looked brand new), they sanitized the entire system and then deodorized it.  Halfway through the process, they took my $100+ air filter outside the clean it.  I was both angry and amazed at the size of the dust balls on my filter.  The air ducts were beyond filthy, and simply having the best air filter did nothing for the coating inside the air ducts.  Now you would think after all this education on my part and work on their part, we would be through.  No.
“Ideally, the inside surface will be shiny and bright after cleaning. Duct cleaning may be justifiable to you personally for that very reason: you may not want to have your house air circulated through a duct passage that is not as clean as the rest of the house. However, duct cleaning will not usually change the quality of the air you breathe, nor will it significantly affect airflows or heating costs.”
I bought a Groupon for an air duct cleaning and deodorizing for $59. I read all of the fine print and it said "unlimited ducts." When they came to perform the service they said it would cost an additional $200 to cover the entire house. I ended up canceling the whole service and the guy who was there do to the work said he is leaving the company because of issues like this. He said 25% of their customers end up canceling when they arrive to do the service because of the dishonest advertising. Later the same day, the manager called me to discuss why I canceled the service. I told her the Groupon was dishonest and intentionally misleading and her response was, "I don't work on the advertising." I told her that as the manager she has some responsibility for what is advertised about the company and she said, "I just work here, I don't own the company." So apparently the management has no responsibilities at Best Air DC, perhaps that is part of the problem. I will never use them again and hope no one else does either. Save your money!
If there is stuff in the ducts, the fact that it’s laying there and not being blown into the rooms is proof positive that it is hurting no-one. The 5-6 exceptions you cite in this article I’ll buy, but only with the caveat that at least some of those could have been avoided by proper protection (during remodeling for example) – and if asbestos/lead/whatever winds up in your ducts- the remodeling contractor should be the one paying to remove it.
I had researched by HVAC system and saw electronic air filters for over $1000.  That was too much for me.  But Simon introduced me to a product which uses ultraviolet light to further clean the air going into my home from the HVAC unit, and he gave me a discount because of the totally thorough cleaning I had purchased.  This unit attaches to the duct coming after the air filter and comes with a lifetime warranty.  Included in that lifetime warranty is a visit every two years to replace elements of this air cleaner, and a free air duct cleaning.
As I type this, I am having my ducts cleaned. About 30 including returns and the furnace. $543.00. I am watching the team do it and can see the clear vacuuming tubing and how dirty it has become. I like the gentleman’s comment on “stick your head in your vacuum and breath”….I get it. The team showed me the machine and it’s filtration system…and they will show me it again after the cleaning. However, like I said before, I am actively seeing the tubing that is clear before they start and how dirty it is once they begin and continue cleaning. Reputable company and not a “fly by night” coupon service. People don’t be so cheap, that is your problem.
I recently did some remodeling and figured I’d get the air ducts cleaned in our 12 year old home. After obtaining 4 estimates between $572 and a whopping $3,075 for 25 vents and 2 air handlers, I knew I was in for a ride. I read through this blog and decided to use a $79 inspection camera I just found online (Home Depot) to take a look at all my ducts by removing the ceiling grilles first and then try to get into the ducts from the other end. From what I have just learned here, I believe that will take care of my “concerns”.
I purchased an Air Duct Cleaning from this company through Groupon. When I originally scheduled the latest cleaning it was Nov. 8, 2017. They finally showed up today March 8, 2018. When they arrived they got set up looked in the vents with there camera and said it looks like you will need an Air Duct Cleaning; we will be vacuuming today. Best Air Rep: The cleaning after looking inside will be $200-$500 additional. ??? I was floored. The next statement from the Best Air rep was: Who did your last cleaning? "They did a horrible job." What he did not realize is that they had done the last supposedly Air Duct Cleaning on May 3, 2016.
In addition, the black dust was found in most of the heat registers. He could rub it off on his fingers but did nothing but spray compressed air on it which didn’t make it disappear since it wasn’t loose. Also, in the register in the basement he described the black dust as being oily. The reality of that situation is that I had the AC on until the morning of the service and minutes after he snaked the hoses in my back door it started raining. The basement register had condensation from the humidity all over it. It was not oily but wet. He asked for an old towel and wiped it out. Never saw anything so black – because I never had to clean soot. That is what I have in my ducts. Soot from years of the old coal furnace.
I guess I should present my credentials first, I am a 30 year veteran of the heating and cooling industry. I started at the bottom and have participated in every area of the trade. Installer, service, maint. Ownership, rep, territory manager and so on. A forced air duct system is a large vacume. Like your vacume it has an air intake (return air) and an exhaust (supply registers). A filter just like a vacume (located next to furnace or air handler). Now I want you to visualize something. Put your head inside your vacume cleaner and breath. Get the picture? This is what your duct work looks like. Do you clean your vacume when it’s dirty? If it’s full and the filter is dirty you lose performance and it starts poluting the air you breathe. It’s common sense. I recommend hiring a duct cleaning outfit that you have researched to be honest, background checked, drug tested, insured, and highly recommended by your piers in the area. The service is a necessity, but like everything, it should be done by a qualified company.
How often you should clean your air ducts depends on your situation. If you or someone in the home has asthma or is acutely allergic to certain airborne materials or pollen, regular duct cleaning may be helpful. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have an official position on the necessity of air duct cleaning unless the ducts have been contaminated by rodents, insects or mold, or you are aware of particles blowing out through the vents. The EPA recommends you have your air ducts cleaned on an as-needed basis. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) suggests having air ducts cleaned every three to five years.
On the other hand, if a service provider fails to follow proper duct cleaning procedures, duct cleaning can cause indoor air problems. For example, an inadequate vacuum collection system can release more dust, dirt and other contaminants than if you had left the ducts alone. A careless or inadequately trained service provider can damage your ducts or heating and cooling system, possibly increasing your heating and air conditioning costs or forcing you to undertake difficult and costly repairs or replacements.
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