Manufacturers of products marketed to coat and encapsulate duct surfaces claim that these sealants prevent dust and dirt particles inside air ducts from being released into the air. As with biocides, a sealant is often applied by spraying it into the operating duct system. Laboratory tests indicate that materials introduced in this manner tend not to completely coat the duct surface. Application of sealants may also affect the acoustical (noise) and fire retarding characteristics of fiber glass lined or constructed ducts and may invalidate the manufacturer's warranty.
If anyone in your household has specific health concerns, such as allergies or asthma, consult your physician first. It’s important to identify the problem so your doctor can suggest alternatives to duct cleaning. Start by identifying whether your ducts are part of the problem (they probably aren’t) and whether getting them cleaned will help (it probably won’t).

If anyone in your household has specific health concerns, such as allergies or asthma, consult your physician first. It’s important to identify the problem so your doctor can suggest alternatives to duct cleaning. Start by identifying whether your ducts are part of the problem (they probably aren’t) and whether getting them cleaned will help (it probably won’t).

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.


Another sketchy claim made by most duct-cleaning operations and their trade association is that dirty ducts and equipment overburden heating and cooling equipment, which wastes energy. Again, it intuitively makes sense that a cleaner system will run smoother and last longer — after all, that’s why we and HVAC-equipment manufacturers and repair services recommend that you regularly change your filters. But the page “Benefits of HVAC Cleaning” on the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) website stretches this benefit too far by stating: “According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a home is wasted.”
Moisture can enter the duct system through leaks or if the system has been improperly installed or serviced. Research suggests that condensation (which occurs when a surface temperature is lower than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air) on or near cooling coils of air conditioning units is a major factor in moisture contamination of the system. The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Controlling moisture can often be difficult, but here are some steps you can take:
#3 The ONLY time Duct cleaning is needed is when the home had a fire, Bad roof leak on to FIBERGLASS ductwork or house sat vacant for many years with out the air running. And its better to replace than to do “abrasive” duct cleaning. If the duct cleaning has a rotating brush it will remove part of the glue that is holding the Fiberglass in the ducts together, PERIOD no matter how much the say it don’t because the brush is soft.

There are a few signs to watch out for to catch them in time. For one, if your breathing starts acting up or you start coughing or sneezing, there is probably some buildup in the vents. If you suspect mold or start hearing scritches in your pipes, there's a good chance you have enough dirt for bigger problems to unfold. You should clean your ducts and vents every few months just to be safe. This is even more important and should be done more frequently if you live in a very humid or dusty climate.
I have been a plumbing/gas/hvac tech for 19 years, before that I installed ductwork in commercial buildings and office towers. As the article states, unless you have undergone some type of extensive reno, or ducts have become contaminated, paying for cleaning is pointless. Its one thing if you have a 30 year old home that has never had a duct cleaning and you can actually see mounds of dust built up , especially in the return side, then go for it. Keep in mind that most duct cleaning companies will only get 80% of the dust , or less at best. Keep in mind that most of the dust in your home is lint from clothes and linens, and skin cells from you and your pets and is constantly being generated. Dust that builds up in ductwork , generally stays in the ductwork. The power of suggestion, scare tactics, up sell!!!
My 48 yr old house (mine for the last 4 yrs) has considerable dust in the return plenum (fiber duct). I’m remodeling and recently re-sealed the return plenum AND the site-fabbed transition built when the new unit was installed, 2013. The return was leaky no doubt drawing musty, dusty air from the crawl space due to the Red-Neck fab & seal job! Pitiful craftsmanship! It took me 7 hours to fix the new transition piece. Anyway, the dust in the house is the same “color” as whats in the return duct and I’m getting way too much & too often in the house. I’ve also cleaned my coils, which were not that dirty.
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..

And if you have flex duct and/or fiberglass ductboard in your home- the last thing you want is a big brush or anything abrasive running through it. Even high-pressure air can erode ductboard so I wouldn’t clean it with anything. If it becomes contaminated, get rid of it and install real ductwork. If your ductwork is accessible in the basement – the best thing to do is take it down and manually clean it if it’s full of junk. It’s not going to cost a nickel more to do that than to pay $500-1000 for a ‘duct cleaning machine” AKA big blower and vacuum – to do the job.
I purchased one of those Amazon air duct cleaning coupons for 49.99. When the company showed up, they removed the vent closest to the air intake and immediately told me I needed $1800.00 for all new duct work. They said they could not clean the system until new duct work was installed. I thanked them and said I would give them a call. The only call I made was to Amazon to get a refund. I know I didn’t need new duct work. Be careful to not fall for unscrupulous salesmen and their pitches and scare tactics.
i called in and spoke to paula who said 6 weeks to get an appointment. i asked what cleaners they use to sanatize and deoderize. she said she was the only one there and didnt know. i explained i have severe allergies and she said someone would call me and let me know. they never called. brian came today and vaccumed my vents- and not all of them. i called and spoke to someone who said they were the manager named jennifer- she kept laughing at me and refused to let me talk to anyone else-she said she is the owner and would not give a refund.

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!

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!
A thorough visual inspection is the best way to verify the cleanliness of your heating and cooling system. Some service providers use remote photography to document conditions inside ducts. All portions of the system should be visibly clean; you should not be able to detect any debris with the naked eye. Show the Post-Cleaning Consumer Checklist to the service provider before the work begins. After completing the job, ask the service provider to show you each component of your system to verify that the job was performed satisfactorily.
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