EPA does not recommend that air ducts be cleaned except on an as-needed basis because of the continuing uncertainty about the benefits of duct cleaning under most circumstances. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Some research also suggests that cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers can improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. However, little evidence exists to indicate that simply cleaning the duct system will increase your system's efficiency.
The best way to ensure indoor air quality and avoid replacing your A/C system is to clean your ducts. Duct cleaning can be as simple as dusting out the vents or something more in-depth like having a professional look through them. While it sounds daunting, what you gain in keeping them clean is much better than the initial cost. Need help finding a duct cleaning service near you? Enter your zip code to be connected today to local air duct cleaning companies.
But we don’t recommend hiring a duct cleaner to perform these tasks; too many don’t really know what they’re doing, according to the ratings of duct-cleaning outfits we have collected from local consumers. Consider hiring a top-notch heating and air-conditioning contractor to do this type of work, or pay them to do it during their next service visit. Readers can access Checkbook’s HVAC company ratings through Feb. 28 at Checkbook.org/washingtonpost/ducts.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.