Ballpark estimate: $300- $1,000
You probably take your air quality for granted, unless there’s something wrong with it. But in recent years there’s been growing awareness about the health risks associated with black mold and other allergens. For people with forced air systems in their homes, the air ducts can be compromised in certain situations when these allergens and pollutants are present and this can be dangerous if you don’t undergo proper maintenance. This fact has been prompting some families and individuals to look at methods to clean their air ducts and to ensure their homes will have the safest and healthiest air quality overall.
Does Air Duct Cleaning Work?
Does air duct cleaning really work? It really depends on your situation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since air duct cleaning is still a relatively new field, there’s no real data yet that shows cleaning air ducts improves the air quality consistently. Therefore, the EPA advises that people consider duct cleaning only when it’s truly necessary. Nonetheless, there are examples that show that duct cleaning can make a difference for some situations. Therefore, if your air quality is a concern for you or you have water damage and related mold or mildew, it can certainly be worth trying air duct cleaning and seeing if it works.
Do I Need Duct Cleaning?
Not everyone needs duct cleaning. Because there are filters on the air intake, almost all the dust particles and pet hair are trapped there, so it’s always recommended to change filter on a regular basis. In some cases, this may be enough and you may not need to invest in a more thorough cleaning. But if your home is at high risk for problems, there are some signs to explore to tell if your home can use a professional duct cleaning. For instance, you can look at the registers to see if there is dust buildup. (If you see none, that’s a good sign.) You can even go further and take the register off and run a damp rag inside the duct to see how much dust is in there. If the amount is minimal, often you can just change the filter and make sure there are no gaps at the intake outside the filter to ensure nothing gets by. (If there are gaps, you can caulk the area and this should prevent any build up from occurring.)
Hiring a Professional Duct Cleaning Company
When shopping for a duct cleaning company, it’s important to know that not all of them are created equal. Who you hire will also make a difference in the results, since not all companies have the same type of equipment or the same level of experience. This means it’s important to shop around and find a company that has been in the business for a while and comes highly recommended. Buyers should also beware of companies that come in and say you need a cleaning and then try to upsell you on a variety of other services you don’t need.
When a company comes in to clean your ducts, they will usually bring equipment including special blowers, brushes, and vacuums that can be used to clean the ducts throughout your home.
The cost of duct cleaning can vary a great deal, depending on the size and amount of duct work in your house. The lower the square footage, the less work and related cost involved. For instance, a 1,500 square foot house might be in the lower range of $300 and a house that is over 3,000 square feet it is in the upper range of $700 to $1,000.
This price should include cleaning all the registers, cleaning inside the ducts, cleaning the furnace or heat pump, and cleaning the fans, filters, and coils. Before you hire any company, be sure they are reputable. Check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure there aren’t any worrisome complaints against them.
If you’re cleaning your air ducts because there is an odor from water damage in your home or you pet odors that you can’t seem to get rid of on your home, some experts recommended that you also have an ozone application done at the same time. This is a machine that delivers ozone through the home and attaches to mold, bacteria, and other odor-causing elements and kills the material.
If you arrange such an ozone treatment, be prepared to stay out of the house while the machine is running and also keep people, pets, and plants out of the house as well.
Some companies will include an ozone treatment as part of their air duct cleaning price, but others may charge $100 -$200 per treatment. (Some problems can be resolved in one treatment, while others may require a few.)
You can also rent the ozone machine for $50 -$100 per day.
Note that with old ducts, they could have asbestos for insulation. If this is the case, you’ll need a hire a specialized company to remove the asbestos, so the cost will depend on the amount of asbestos to be removed.
A DIY Option
It’s not recommended to clean your own ducts because you could do more damage than good. You can ruin duct work seals and damage walls. However, if you consider yourself ultra handy and this warning doesn’t scare you away from trying a DIY option, you can do a search online and find videos that will walk you through the process. This can save you a great deal of money if you can use equipment and cleaning materials that you already have at home, but the risks may outweigh the savings since one wrong move and it could end up costing much more than simply hiring a professional duct cleaning company.