What to Look for in an Air Duct Cleaning Company

Air duct cleaning is a relatively new industry that has exploded as a $4 Billion a year industry in the United States alone, in the 21st century. Some people have embraced air duct cleaning as a beneficial service, while others have criticized the service and view the service as a waste of time and money. More than likely though, people who have their varying view points for and against the service are both correct on this issue in one way or another and in this article I will address why I think that both sides raise interesting and very good points that you as a consumer should consider. In this article I will address different air duct cleaning methods and explain what those methods are, I will explain credentials so that you can better understand who the organizations are and who they represent and last I will address the common scams that are out there so that you as a consumer can avoid being caught up into such scams to increase the possibilities of receiving a good service performed correctly, should you ever schedule an air duct cleaning service in the future with a local service provider.

The two most common air duct cleaning methods are the “contact cleaning” method and the “Power vacuum air wash” method in air duct cleaning. The contact cleaning method in air duct cleaning involves the use of shop vac style equipment to keep constant contact between the vacuum hose and duct work surface during the cleaning process. Generally speaking the companies that employ this form of cleaning charges less money for their services, because they know that they are limited in what dirt, dust and debris that they can actually pull out of the air ducts and are typically in your home to perform the service for 30 minutes to 1 hour. There is usually no benefit to an air duct cleaning service when this method of cleaning is performed, however it may be beneficial if the actual vent boots were full of construction debris or dog food or whatever and you did not feel like cleaning the vent boots and preferred to just get a cheap service provider out to do that work for you instead. Now, the power vacuum air wash method in air duct cleaning involves the use of expensive powerful equipment to allow a technician to deep clean the entire HVAC system. The vacuum hose is usually 8-12″ in diameter and is installed in the main trunk line to put the entire air duct system under a deep and powerful vacuum.

No kidding, every vent in the house will have a powerful vacuum pulling hard off of every vent in the house for a perfect negative air containment, which disallows any cross contamination of dirt discharges in your home to occur during the cleaning process! The vacuum machines could be 220 volt HEPA rated negative air machines, gas powered or diesel powered machines to generate a powerful enough vacuum to perform the service properly. Compressed air tools are used to air wash all of the dirt, dust and debris to the power vacuum hose installed in the main duct, trunk line. When the power vacuum air wash form of air duct cleaning is performed correctly the service usually takes anywhere from 2-4 hours to perform the service in an average sized home. Reputable companies will clean all supply boots, adjoining supply branch lines, supply trunk line(s), supply plenum, return boots, return channels, return trunk line(s) and return plenum, virtually 100% of the entire HVAC system.

It is vital that the entire air duct system is cleaned, because if any debris and or contamination is left in the system, then that missed debris and or contamination will just recirculate again to recontaminate the air duct system as if nothing was even done, once the furnace is turned on again after the air duct cleaning is complete. A typical forced air ventilation is a circulatory system of constant air in and air out when a furnace is in operation. Companies that are licensed for HVAC will also thoroughly clean the furnace and evaporator coil (indoor coil that is often above the furnace).

The benefits can be tremendous with this method of cleaning, such as increased air flow, increased HVAC system efficiency, reduced dust in the home, reduction in unpleasant odors deriving from the air ducts and increased life expectancy of working HVAC parts such as surface igniters, blower motors, limit switches and capacitors that dirt, dust and debris destroys over time. A reputable company that pays their technicians well, maintains their tools & machinery and possesses all of the proper credentials such as ACCA membership status, EPA certified technicians to handle refrigeration and carries proper insurance(s) will charge anywhere from $425.00-$1000.00 per HVAC system for about half a days work to properly clean each HVAC system.

The price swing is also factored by different cost of living standards depending on where you live in the country and varying overhead costs that each company carries. Some one in Manhattan New York would probably be near the $1000.00 price per HVAC system cleaned, whereas someone in Austin Texas would be near the $425.00 per HVAC system cleaned. The cost of living is much higher in Manhattan New York than in Austin Texas, so logically air duct cleaning in Manhattan New York would cost more than in Austin Texas.

Credentials are very important! Beware of companies that have no credentials at all, because an in experienced service provider can cause a lot of expensive damage to your HVAC system, if they don’t know what they are doing and you surely don’t want to be stuck with an expensive repair bill as a result. The best credentials that a service provider can have is the ACCA membership status.

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) HVAC system cleaning standards is the only air duct cleaning standard accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI is a reputable international organization that creates rigid tough standards to improve products and services for the better good of the consumer to ensure that the product or service is safe and effective. If an organization lacks ANSI accreditation, then they lack validity to their product or service(s) in the HVAC, Heating, ventilation and air conditioning field.

A prime example of that would be NADCA, which stands for the National Air Duct Cleaning Association. NADCA has raised some good guidelines to follow in an air duct cleaning procedure, however they lack knowledge in having much HVAC technical knowledge to deliver the best procedures in cleaning your furnace or evaporator coil, which is at the heart of the entire air duct system. Very often NADCA member companies are not licensed for HVAC, which increases your risk when hiring them to clean and HVAC system. These vital working components needs to be cleaned as well, which means in my opinion NADCA will leave you in the dust pertaining to HVAC system cleaning. The safe approach to take is to shop around with ACCA member companies to ensure that your HVAC system is cleaned correctly by a licensed HVAC contractor or company rather than hiring an under trained carpet cleaner or air duct cleaner.

Air duct cleaning is a good service to have performed if it is done properly by an ACCA member company, however many companies have exploited the good service that many homeowners and building owners desire by delivering bait and switch tactics or blow and go air duct cleaning procedures that leaves the system contaminated after the service has been performed. 9 times out of 10 you should discredit ads that state air duct cleanings start at $59.00-$199.00 for up to 10 vent lines cleaned. Only two results will derive from these forms of advertising such as Company “A” arrived for $79.00 and in fact cleaned 10 vent lines with a shop vac type machine and left within 1 hour leaving your system contaminated or Company “B” arrived to clean 10 vent lines for $69.00 and their technician explained that the returns are very dirty too and they can be cleaned for $25.00 each.

Now your ticket has turned to $144
.00 with 3 return lines cleaned. While the technician is still cleaning he realizes that your trunk lines are dirty too and up sells you on that to clean a supply trunk line for $100.00 and to clean a return trunk line for another $100.00, which now turns the ticket into $344.00. You’re done with receiving the up selling, right? No, think again, because the technician explained to you that he had to cut out accesses into the ductwork to clean it right, he of coarse now has to sell you clean out doors to install so that all of your air doesn’t escape out of the system, so he quotes you at $75.00 for each clean out door installed to make the ticket $494.00 from an additional $150.00 for two doors sold.

If the job was performed correctly that would be fine, however the guy is in your house with a shop vac type machine, which means he received $494.00 from you to leave your HVAC system contaminated. After he leaves once the air duct cleaning service has been performed, you realize that dust is blowing out of all of the vents when the furnace cycles, because he disturbed a lot of dust during the air duct cleaning, because shop vac style machinery are in effective in performing a thorough air duct cleaning service. You could have called a reputable company that is an ACCA member company utilizing the most powerful equipment in the industry to give you an “up front” price quote right in the same ball park for price as the bait and switch company eventually got out of you, to get the job done thoroughly and correctly. If it is too good to be true, that is because it is. Buyer beware, these bait and switch tactics have been going on for years and usually the companies that follow these price structures are the very companies leaving the majority of dirt, dust and debris in your ventilation system that they were paid good money by the customer to clean out.

When shopping around for a service provider that offers air duct cleaning as a service, make sure that they are an ACCA member company, which tells you that they are licensed for HVAC and check their record at the BBB. If they have a few complaints that is fine, so long as all of the complaints have been resolved. You know there is a huge difference with 5 complaints all quickly resolved and 112 complaints unresolved. These contractors and companies deal with the general public, which means they deal with all different walks of life of different personalities and characters on a daily basis. It is almost impossible if a company has done enough volume of work to keep a perfect record with the BBB. Usually the companies that are small and have not done too many jobs are the only companies that have the perfect score with the BBB. No less, the BBB is still a good reference though, to safe guard yourself from blatant scamming companies and it would be wise to reference companies there if you are unsure of the companies over all reputation.

The conclusion of this article is if a company is licensed for HVAC, uses the most powerful air duct cleaning machinery in the industry, performs air duct cleanings by the power vacuum air wash method and has a good reputation with the BBB and other reporting institutions, then air duct cleaning will more than likely be performed thoroughly and properly in most instances, so that you can realize positive results such as increased air flow coming out of vents, odor reductions deriving from the vents, increased HVAC system efficiency and increased furnace and air conditioning part life.

Author: Mike Meincke Managing Member of Lucky Duct, LLC. Lucky Duct, LLC is a full service licensed heating and air conditioning company that operates in Denver Colorado. Visit www.luckyduct.net to find more great information and facts on air duct cleaning. Enter the “Air Duct” page to find air duct cleaning related content.

Mike Meincke is the Managing Member of Lucky Duct, LLC which operates a full service heating, ventilation, AC and air duct cleaning company in the Denver metro. Lucky Duct, LLC was founded in 2005 and has quickly attracted some of the most seasoned tenured HVAC technicians to work for Lucky Duct, LLC due to a positive working climate, good hourly pay and full fledge employee benefits that has allowed Lucky Duct, LLC to rapidly grow in the saturated Denver Metro HVAC market. Visit www.luckyduct.net to learn more about why Lucky Duct, LLC has raised the bar in customer service, up to date technician training and quality of service, products and workmanship!

Filed Under: Rigid Tools

Tags:

FInd sleep aids on sale now at drugstore.com! icon

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply