Washington Consumers’ Checkbook magazine and Checkbook.org is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help consumers get the best service and lowest prices. We are supported by consumers and take no money from the service providers we evaluate. You can access Checkbook’s ratings of local HVAC companies free of charge until Feb. 28 at Checkbook.org/washingtonpost/ducts.
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!
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. Interestingly, I had this service performed several years ago, by a cheaper company. Based on the amount of dirt and junk that was removed yesterday, I now have my doubts that the previous company really performed the work. Yes, I checked this time! The owner, John, told me that there is another company working under the same name, so make sure that you are getting the Arizona Air Duct Cleaning Company, father and son team, that is being reviewed here. Not all these companies are honest and do what they claim to!
Demonstrate visible evidence of microbial growth in your duct work. Some service providers may attempt to convince you that your air ducts are contaminated by demonstrating that the microorganisms found in your home grow on a settling plate (i.e., petri dish). This is inappropriate. Some microorganisms are always present in the air, and some growth on a settling plate is normal. As noted earlier, only an expert can positively identify a substance as biological growth and lab analysis may be required for final confirmation. Other testing methods are not reliable.
Duct cleaning is a complete scam, I was a “duct cleaning technician” for a whole week before I was fired for not upselling elderly widowed women $2000 extra for “toxic mold remediation” when their ducts were spotless to begin with. The last two days I was employed there I worked as a “helper” alongside a technician thats been with the company 7 years. He scammed every customer on mold and would at times get as much as $2500 extra for treating “toxic mold” in a typical 3 bedroom house in the suburbs. Wait…it gets even better, the “Biocide” the company used was simply a cheap $4.99 per gallon bought at Home Depot air freshener with no anti-microbial properties that was fogged into the HVAC system for 5 minutes, maybe using 1/2 cup of the stuff. In order to provide the customer with evidence of “mold infestation” the technician would be given bogus mold tests that always resulted in “toxic spores present” regardless if you swabbed the actual duct or nothing at all. Not to mention the actual duct cleaning job (typically $400) did basically nothing and the homeowner could’ve done a better job with a shopvac
Recent Review: Alex, Mike, and Cisco came out on time. They covered any furniture that might get some dust/dirt on it with plastic. They removed all of the vent and return covers, took them outside and thoroughly cleaned them. They vacuumed out the vents, then went in with a swab covered in sanitizer. They kept performing this step until the swab came back clean. They sprayed sanitizer into the vent system and replaced all of the vent covers. They went up on he roof and cleaned the a/c unit coils. They cleaned out the dryer vent as well. The crew was very knowledgeable and professional. I will definitely be calling them the next time I need my ducts and dryer vent cleaned!
The Antimicrobials Information Hotline provides answers to questions concerning current antimicrobial issues (disinfectants, fungicides, others) regulated by the pesticide law, rules and regulations. These cover interpretation laws, rules and regulations, and registration and re-registration of antimicrobial chemicals and products. The Hotline also provide information health & safety issues on registered antimicrobial products, product label and the proper and safe use of these antimicrobial products.
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.
Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can cause greater exposure to contaminants than dirty air ducts. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to your health.