Are you feeling the heat from your HVAC system but not consistently? Before you reach for the phone to call the first air duct cleaning company you find, beware of the all-too-common air duct cleaning scams. From bait-and-switch pricing to shoddy work, these unscrupulous companies will leave you with a lighter wallet and a dirty duct system. However, with education and diligence, you can ensure that you choose a reputable and certified air duct cleaning service that will leave your home with clean, fresh air and your wallet only slightly lighter.
The Basics of Air Duct Cleaning
Air ducts carry conditioned air from your HVAC system to the remainder of your home. Although dust, dirt, and other allergens can occasionally build up inside, it is uncommon for the buildup to be big enough to create health problems.
- A professional has inspected your ductwork and found mold
- Your house is infested with rodents or insects
- There is a clear buildup of dust and dirt in the air ducts
Although air duct cleaners are not normally governed by state or municipal legislation, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) does offer accreditation and recommendations for best practices. The organization advises cleaning your air ducts every three years, but you can get them cleaned more often if there are pets, smokers, or people with allergies in your home.
When you hire an air duct cleaning service, you can expect them to be thorough. Although most HVAC companies are honest, reliable, and well-versed in their craft, you should still look for the following warning signs.
Air Duct Cleaning Scams
There are a lot of con artists that provide cheap “blow and go” services in this industry. Professional duct cleaners will often service between two and four homes each day. However, this number can vary greatly depending on the size of each property. Companies that use the blow-and-go method typically schedule more than four appointments daily. This gives them just enough time to clean the portions of the ductwork that are easily accessible, but they leave the contaminants in the areas where they can’t be seen. They don’t clean HVAC systems well and may get a homeowner to pay for unnecessary services.
You can learn more about “blow-and-go” firms who overcharge and underdeliver by checking out CBC’s Marketplace undercover investigation. In this section, a NADCA specialist exposes firms that engage in consumer fraud.
Dirt and Mold Warnings
Air ducts are only one of many areas in your house where allergens and asthma triggers may lurk. If you hire a dubious company to clean your air ducts, they could use fear tactics to get you to commit to regular or periodic cleanings. But, before hiring someone to eradicate mold, it is essential to get a professional examination, as the EPA pointed out.
A second opinion is always necessary if an air duct cleaning service claims to have detected mold and then gives you an outrageous quote to get rid of it. Scammers may pressure you into signing on the spot, but real experts know you must verify their claims and go through the correct channels before handing over any cash.
Another popular air duct cleaning scam is the “bait-and-switch.” This occurs when a fantastic offer is made through a coupon or phone. When the air duct cleaning service finally shows up for the appointment, they’ll do the bare minimum before telling you that more work is required and trying to upsell you on more expensive services.
Scammers will resort to whatever means necessary, including scare tactics, to dupe unsuspecting homeowners out of more money. You won’t receive high-quality service even if you agree to the upsells.
In this case, the adage “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” rings true. Constantly lowering their prices and advertising “whole home duct cleaning” for as little as $50 or $100 is a favorite tactic of fraudulent air duct cleaning services. Sometimes they use these offers to get in the door, so they can either do a poor job and then flee or try to extract more money from you.
More malicious actors, especially on the Internet, use similar frauds to steal people’s personal information. Don’t give out personal information over the phone, submit a deposit, or sign any paperwork until you’ve confirmed that the air duct company is legitimate. Legitimate businesses won’t ask for sensitive information upfront
Fabricated NADCA Membership
Scammers may go so far as to claim to be certified NADCA members. Thankfully, you can verify a company’s status by visiting the NADCA website. All necessary details, such as team size and length of service, are listed on the site.
How to Choose a Reputable and Certified Duct Cleaning Service
Do you know someone who has ever hired an air duct cleaning service? Asking for recommendations from people you know is an excellent way to identify reliable service providers. Make a list of local establishments using recommendations from people you trust. You must pay attention to the firms they promote and the ones they do not recommend. Stay away from businesses that friends and family do not endorse.
The number of years a firm has been in operation can provide insight into various aspects, including its expertise and credibility. Ensure the air duct cleaning service you pick has been in business for a sufficient amount of time and has the necessary expertise to get the work done correctly. You should also ensure that the company complies with any state, NADCA, and EPA standards that may apply. As a bonus, it’s comforting to know that the organization has a history of making its consumers happy.
Read Online Reviews
One of the best ways to evaluate the quality of an air duct cleaning service is to read testimonials from others who have used it before. And in this day and age, every professional duct cleaning company worth its salt will have an online presence complete with testimonials from satisfied customers.
Check the Company’s Website
Anybody who cares about their business will keep their website up to date. In addition to being a standard requirement for modern consumers, this bolsters a company’s credibility. The website’s design and usability should be top-notch so customers can quickly access information like cost estimates and appointment booking options.
Also, if consumers have posted reviews, especially bad ones, you should search for positive comments from the owners trying to address the problem since this demonstrates they care about their clients.
Request Proof of insurance
If your house is destroyed or a technician is hurt while working on your property, you don’t want to be responsible for paying for the repairs or medical bills. A reliable air duct cleaning service should be able to give you documentation of their liability insurance coverage with no trouble at all. Don’t risk your house and finances by working with a firm that won’t provide you with evidence of insurance in writing.
Air duct cleaning is a dangerous occupation. This is why we advise against attempting this on your own. Dealing with air ducts in crawl spaces or attics requires specialized training and certification to deliver services that are safe and within the law.
The Better Business Bureau often assigns favorable ratings to trustworthy businesses (BBB). Check the Better Business Bureau’s website to check whether the air duct cleaning service in question has a low rating or a lot of customer complaints.
Check Whether the Company Has a Thorough Vetting Process
You should inquire about the company’s hiring practices to ensure you are comfortable letting the duct cleaning crew into your house. Feel free to ask about safety measures like staff drug testing and background checks while you complete your investigation. After all, you wouldn’t want a suspicious character inside your house, would you?
Ask for a cost estimate before hiring an air duct cleaning service. Air duct cleaning prices should be within the range of what customers in your region typically pay for this service.
Be wary if the provider quotes an extremely low rate. It’s essential to invest in professional, trustworthy service providers. Also, if the price they quote you is far greater than anticipated, you should ask why. Your home may be too large, or you may have other unusual conditions. If something doesn’t seem right, follow your instincts and keep looking.
Ask How the Company Will Clean Your Air Ducts
For proper air duct cleaning, the company should adhere to NADCA standards. This entails closing the access panel, replacing the registers and grilles, and cleaning and repairing the supply and return air ducts.
Pay attention to the details of the equipment they utilize. They need to talk about HVAC-specific vacuums, brushes, and other specialist cleaning tools. As you presumably don’t want to keep the dirt and dust, they should also walk you through the process by which they’ll collect it and remove it from your property.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Air Duct Cleaner
Will I Pay the Quoted Price?
Consumers are wary of air duct cleaning services because of the prevalence of bait-and-switch schemes and other questionable pricing tactics. Some businesses advertise $49 air duct cleaning for the entire house to deliver low-quality work. However, these businesses frequently suggest additional, pricey services that are not required. Air duct cleaning costs anywhere from $120 to $660, based on factors including the size of your house and the type of system you have. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
What Chemicals Do You Use?
Cleaning the air duct system in your home will help protect your loved ones against potentially hazardous contaminants. Using unnecessary chemicals can only make things worse. Cleaning the interior of the air ducts with chemical biocides to kill mold and germs and prevent their return is a common recommendation. If you are advised to take such actions, consider the benefits and drawbacks carefully before agreeing. Remember that the EPA has not approved the use of any chemical biocides in internally insulated air duct systems.
How Will You Ensure My Home Is Clean During Cleaning?
Air duct cleaning can be a messy and labor-intensive process. Choose an air duct cleaning service that will protect your flooring and furniture by using drop cloths. Moreover, contractors should use plastic guards to protect the walls. Moreover, technicians should cover their shoes with booties to ensure they don’t track dust and other particles throughout your home.
Will You Clean the Entire Duct System?
Even though some claim to clean your whole duct system, not all air duct cleaning services are created equal. According to NADCA, it is recommended that your entire system be subjected to negative pressure. Truck-mounted equipment is often needed for this, unlike “blow-and-go” services, which employ small, portable, round brushes to clean your air duct system. A professional air duct cleaning service should clean your HVAC system, including the air handler and ductwork. Professionals will close the access panel and clean the vents, registers, and grilles.
Can I Get a Visual Inspection After Cleaning?
It’s not safe to rely on a third party’s assurance that your air ducts are clean and free of harmful contaminants. Choose an air duct cleaning service that shows you before and after photos of your air duct system to ensure the safety of your property and investment. You should be able to see where problems were found and what was done to fix them. Keep looking if a duct cleaning service doesn’t provide a visual examination.
Contact One Hour Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas
Air duct cleaning scams are a pervasive issue. Not only can these scams lead to financial losses but also health hazards. Choosing a reputable and certified duct cleaning company ensures your HVAC system is cleaned thoroughly and safely. When searching for an air duct cleaning service, always verify their credentials and look for reviews from previous customers. Remember, a reputable air duct cleaning company will always be transparent about its process and pricing.
If you’re looking for a reliable and certified air duct cleaning service, look no further than One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas. Our team of experts is committed to providing you with the highest quality duct cleaning services while ensuring your safety and satisfaction. Call us at 682-269-2786 to schedule your appointment and breathe clean air again!
See our most recent blog on this topic here.