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.
The bottom line is: no one knows. There are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health. The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home. In these cases, duct cleaning may make sense. However, a light amount of household dust in your air ducts is normal. Duct cleaning is not considered to be a necessary part of yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system, which consists of regular cleaning of drain pans and heating and cooling coils, regular filter changes and yearly inspections of heating equipment. Research continues in an effort to evaluate the potential benefits of air duct cleaning.
My vent covers have lots of mildew. They look bad! I live in a very humid climate in a condo. The handyman here has offered to take those down, wash them, sand, & then spray paint them with a mildew resistant paint. He said that he will leave them off overnight to dry. I am wondering if this is safe to breath the AC blowing out into the open all night??. ! Guess it is better than the mildew!?
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.

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.
The bottom line is: no one knows. There are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health. The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home. In these cases, duct cleaning may make sense. However, a light amount of household dust in your air ducts is normal. Duct cleaning is not considered to be a necessary part of yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system, which consists of regular cleaning of drain pans and heating and cooling coils, regular filter changes and yearly inspections of heating equipment. Research continues in an effort to evaluate the potential benefits of air duct cleaning.

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.


Air ducts for your HVAC are critical for the efficient and effective filtering of microbes from the interior air your family breathes. For this reason, Most people should focus more on the proper cleaning and maintenance of your air ducts at least with equal importance as the filters you buy. I moved into a house built in 2003 last year, and spent a lot of time researching air filters because I realize air pollution inside the house is many times higher than outside, and my health and the health of children and youngers can be so adversely impacted by inhaling these indoor pollutants. I spent a lot of money on the best filters because here in northern Kentucky, I discovered I am allergic to something in the air starting in Spring that made me sick for 10 days - sort of a Upper Respiratory Illness. It never occurred to me the previous owner had never cleaned the air ducts, although he had both very young children, two dogs and a cat. I discovered Best Air Duct Cleaning LLC though an Amazon Local offer. Simon and his co-worker showed up on time with more equipment and materials than necessary, and I am so glad and appreciative they did! 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. 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. Best Air Duct Cleaning provides air duct cleaning, which includes cleaning all your vents in the house outside your house. They repair and install air ducts and associated materials. They also cleaned my dryer vent, which was also incredibly filthy. Simon and his co-worker are intelligent, extremely knowledgeable and patient in their explanations and education to the consumer, and goodness, they are so friendly. I can't praise them enough for the experience and their industriousness. They take indoor pollution and the potential adverse health effects very seriously. The peace of mind I now have knowing all the filth they removed which was invisible to me is worth ten times the amount I paid. Absolutely wonderful people and company.


Definitely would recommend. I just bought a house in the Hyde Park area. It is an older house, but I could tell just by looking at the vents that they had not been cleaned in years. I was having issues with my breathing, so I decided to have them cleaned. You have to schedule pretty far out in advance, but it is because they are very busy. They gave me a time window of 8-11 and showed up right in the middle of that window. I opted for the full cleaning and sanitizing because my vents were that bad.
What about ringworm? If the fungus is as contagious as doctors warn, and the spores can live several months, doesn’t it make sense to spray some sort of fungus killer into the HVAC system to kill the spores that it has sucked in from the air? Duct cleaning would not be helpful at all here; these spores are microscopic and it could actually spread them further. But given how severely contagious ringworm is, body and especially scalp, does anyone make an aerosol product that will clean the system and kill the fungus? One the resident can use, not call an HVAC company; you can’t do that when you are in an apartment. I hear it’s not the same as mold, it is much more difficult. Truth?
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!
Quality and price should come hand in hand, a too-good-to-be-true price for an efficient air duct cleaning will not give you the quality that you wanted. To make sure you are getting your money’s worth, check reviews of air duct cleaning companies, certifications from industry since this work requires continuous learning due to new techniques and research breakthrough from time to time. My mom is located in Arizona and they trust J&M Restoration air duct cleaning company, they have an A+ BBB rating, they used EPA approved sanitizing agents, their technicians are NADCA certified, and the company is certified by the Institute of Inspection, cleaning and Restoration. Make sure to shop around and get written estimates first.
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.
The original furnace was a coal fired “octopus” design which had no blower to circulate the air but relied upon warm air rising to distribute the heat. That also means that the system breathed air in from the basement and most of this type did not have a cold air return system. At some point (probably in the 1940’s) the system was upgraded to a forced air gas furnace. The upgrade included replacing the 12″ diameter air ducts exposed in the basement with 6″ ducts and a cold air return system of ducts from the two (only two) air returns on the first floor.
Their crew arrived promptly at 7:00 am. Carlos explained what each crew member would be doing. They increased the insulation in my attic. They also discovered that the ducts had been attached to the vents with plain duct tape. The duct tape had become gooey due to heat and had slipped off the vents in many places. This allowed out side air and dust to enter, spreading dust out of the vents. It also allowed cooled air to escape into the attic. The corrected all of the duct work connections. Jeff came to check the work upon completion. He ran tests to verify that the work had been done correctly, and he replaced all of the "regular" light bulbs with cal bulbs. All of the work was done quickly and neatly.

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


The EPA and CMHC researchers used different methodologies. The CMHC study called on several duct-cleaning services. The companies were not made aware they were part of a study, and the researchers did not control for time spent or methods used. The EPA study prescribed and controlled methods used on a smaller number of homes. While the duct-cleaning industry argues both studies have flaws, no other research has challenged the findings. And although the equipment and methods used by duct-cleaning companies have changed since these studies were conducted, the air ducts in homes haven’t.
Had duct cleaned (apartment) however, dust is still settling throughout the apartment. Contractor said no other cleaning necessary until two (2) years. Is there a time period before dust no longer settles prior to that time? Should the vendor had worn a mask? He did not cover his face the vents and dust was blown throughout the apartment (had family help with the cleanup). I had to leave when they left because I have asthma and I couldn’t breathe without coughing. Please help!
“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. . . . 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.”
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”.
If you or someone in your family suffers from asthma or allergies, you may be considering getting your home’s heating and cooling ducts cleaned. But even if you have no special health concerns, cleaning your ducts may appeal to you at an intuitive level. After all, if your ducts are clean, all that air flowing out of your vents should come out clean, too, right?
I just had my blower module replaced because my AC coil was frozen over. The underside of my coils had a thick mat of dust because I had never had it cleaned. I cleaned it myself by using a soft brush attachement on a shop vac. The inside of the blower appears to have a white/green growth, and I am sure the ductwork of my 30 year old house can’t be in good condition.

Wow Really! Seems many of you just going for a low price or Groupon: THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM! You get what you pay for. Having the whole system cleaned including the furnace and it’s components, such as the coils will increase system efficiency. A camera/scope should be use before and after to show you the results.The needs to be done by certified professionals. It sure can’t hurt the indoor air quality.


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.
Read before purchasing Groupon! The Groupon offer seems like a great deal but it only includes a maintenance cleaning and not a full cleaning. They basically vacuum the vent with a shop vac. I had to argue with the techs just to get the dryer vent cleaning that is supposed to be included. When I called the office about it they said it was up to the technician to include the dryer vent cleaning but it wasn't automatically included. When I read the fine print on Groupon to her she said Groupon has worded it wrong and won't change it. Very deceiving "deal".

I just had my Air ducts “cleaned”. The person who came to my house works for an air duct cleaning company who uses a professional vacuum. He said the company would charge me about $900 but he can do it aside on his own and charge me half of that. However, when he came over the house, he brought the rotary brush along with his domestic vacuum cleaner that it’s hose was about 5 feet long, I ask him that the wasnt strong enough to pull dust out, and he said, it’s similar to what companies use. I was in doubt and he didnt cover the vents so im thinking all dust must have come out from every air vents. Could this vacuum have taking the debris out of the air ducts? Or how can I myself find out if the inside of the air ducts have been cleaned and no debris is sitting there? I have dust all over my house.
A study done by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency researchers measured dust levels and HVAC system efficiency in test homes during a one-week period during the cooling season and found duct cleaning did not significantly improve dust levels or system performance. Based on that report and other independent research, the EPA’s official advisory on duct cleaning concludes:
Do not hire duct cleaners who make sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning — such claims are unsubstantiated. Do not hire duct cleaners who recommend duct cleaning as a routine part of your heating and cooling system maintenance. You should also be wary of duct cleaners who claim to be certified by EPA. Note: EPA neither establishes duct cleaning standards nor certifies, endorses, or approves duct cleaning companies.
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