Tales Of Air Duct Cleaning Service Gone Terribly Wrong
These days you don’t have to look hard to find a company that offers air duct cleaning service. In fact, it seems as if everyone offers AC cleaning. Fliers are delivered in the mail on a constant basis, and many companies advertise on social media that they can clean your home air ducts quickly. The pictures usually show an amazing amount of crud and miscellaneous trash like bottles or even beer cans. They make it seem like you have to clean your home air ducts or you are missing out.
This is partially true and partially overblown. Most people don’t have trash inside of their air ducts, but if you have never had your air ducts cleaned you might be surprised by all the things that can hide inside of them. Outside of dust and debris, rodents and other home invaders often call the pathways home, and removing all signs of these can be well worth the service. However, it is vital that you choose a qualified company to perform your air duct cleaning service if you opt to have someone out to your home.
There are so many people advertising duct cleaning that you cannot trust everyone who advertises their services. In addition, there are a lot of scams within this space, so you need to do your due diligence to make sure that you are working with a trustworthy company. One easy way to sort out whether a company is valid or not is by checking its conditions. You always want to make sure that you choose an HVAC company that has experience with HVAC systems and proper training. Remember that your air ducts play an integral role in your AC system, so they need to be treated with precision and the same respect as any unit attached to it.
Unfortunately, some people don’t realize this until it is too late, and they are stuck with a large repair bill. The following are a few people who decided to get a duct cleaning service but didn’t make the right choice when it came to the service that performed the cleaning. Take a minute to read their stories, and then heed their warnings. You don’t have to make the same mistakes if you are careful about who you allow into your home.
One Big Mess Turned into a Bigger One
Carl decided that it was time to try an air duct cleaning service for his home. He had lived there for over three decades now and never once given much thought to what may be in his air ducts. There could be a family of squirrels, bottles older than him, or his kids’ Pokemon cards, for all he knew. He kept hearing about this type of service in the TV commercials, and it struck him that he might be breathing dirty air on a regular basis. He knew, living in Texas, that his windows were hardly open, so it might not be the worst idea to clean out his air ducts and see just what was hiding in there.
He ran the idea by his wife Patty, who also seemed intrigued by the idea of finding out what was hidden in their air ducts. Now that they were retired, they weren’t too busy and had the time to think about stuff like this. Both thought this could be as entertaining as it would be helpful, and since Patty had COPD, it might actually be beneficial for them to clean the air ducts. They had owned pets throughout the year, and there were probably decades of dust on top of the dog hair. Cleaning out the ducts was simply a smart idea.
Now that the couple had decided to clean out their air ducts, they just needed to find an air duct service. Carl wasn’t much for technology, but it crossed his mind that he should go on the laptop his son had brought over to look for some companies that offered it in his area. Then his wife Patty told him that she knew there were some deals in the weekly flyers. They would just wait for the next set of flyers, and surely they could find someone in there to book. Given the flyers usually had deals and coupons, Carl decided that was a good approach.
Ideally, they would have checked out the company that they chose online before making a call, but Carl and Patty were satisfied with their plan and didn’t do any further research on the company that they hired out of the fliers, which is how things started to go wrong. Had they looked a little deeper, they may have realized the company was not certified to work on HVAC systems and had no business being in their home.
This would all become clear later, but for now, Carl and Patty just had to wait three days for the guys to come out to their home. Carl was thrilled that they were available so quickly, which was another red flag that they should have noted. In the middle of summer, it should be extremely hard to get an HVAC company to come out to your home unless you are willing to pay emergency prices. Therefore, Carl should have been concerned that they could fit them in within three days, but he was so busy thinking about the service it didn’t even cross his mind to check on the authenticity of the service.
On the day of the service, Carl and Patty prepared for the company by moving their furniture away from the air vents and making sure that the team had plenty of room to work. It turned out that they didn’t need to do this since the crew only worked out of about half of the vents in the home. Carl could not work out how this was possible, but they assured him that they could reach all of the areas in the home this way. It would be fairly obvious that they didn’t by the time they finished the service, but Carl gave them the benefit of the doubt when he should not have.
The technicians told them that it would be about two hours, and they didn’t have to hang around and watch, which Patty was fine with, but Carl hung back for a few. He was interested in seeing how they did the cleaning and also never missed a chance to chat with anyone who had a minute to shoot the breeze. The technicians were not chatty, however, while they played with their equipment, and he quickly got the feeling that they didn’t like him there watching. It turned out it was probably because they knew they weren’t going to complete the job fully, but he didn’t know that at the time.
The team started with the outside air vent and then came inside and seemed to play with a few of the intake vents inside for a bit. Carl and Patty heard a lot of rattling, but they weren’t sure what was actually happening since they had retreated to their bedroom to watch Patty’s afternoon talk shows. At one point, Carl went downstairs and asked them if they would need access to the attic so that they could clean out the ducts that connected to the indoor unit. This seemed to toss the team of technicians for a loop for a second, but they recovered and said, “Sure, of course.” This should have been another red flag, but Carl didn’t pay it much attention at the time. He simply showed them how they could access the attic.
A short while later, the team finished cleaning the home and hastily asked for payment, and took off. The couple didn’t have much time to review their work and were slightly annoyed that they hadn’t been offered any pictures of what they found in their air ducts. In fact, they hadn’t even been given a report about what they found while cleaning out the air ducts. This was part of the air duct cleaning service that Carl had been looking forward to the most, so he started to look around for his phone. He figured he would call them and see if they could text some over to him.
Before he could find his phone, however, Patty was yelling at him to come to look at the living room. The vents were half dislodged, and there was dust all around them. It appeared that any dust that had come out of the air ducts was now deposited all around the rims of the vent. Everything looked filthy, including their white carpet, which had survived their grandkids and a few pets but now needed a deep cleaning. Looking around the living room, all three vents appeared to be heavily soiled around the edges, which made Patty instantly regret this decision. They wanted the dirt cleaned out of their vents and out of their home, not put back into the carpet.
It got worse as they explored the house because it seemed that the crew did not wear booties on their feet while they worked on the air ducts. This meant that they carried a lot of the dust they were digging out of the vents everywhere they walked. It was a disaster in the dining room and near the entryway of the home. Carl was grateful that he hadn’t told them to ocean out the air ducts in the bedroom, but now he was slightly concerned about how the attic would look. He had mentioned at the end of the cleaning, and he was sure things were filthy by then.
Additionally, there seemed to be some type of fumes hanging in the air that the couple could not identify until Patty found an empty can of Kilz primer lying on the floor next to the couch. This was the last straw, as Carl could not imagine what on earth would possess a team of cleaners to spray paint down their air ducts. They were supposed to be cleaning out pollutants, not introducing new ones. It was no wonder that Patty was feeling so out of breath; the fumes no doubt had been traveling around the air ducts and were interfering with her breathing.
Now Carl needed his phone to yell at them. He no longer cared that he didn’t have pictures, he wanted to get to the bottom of why this crew had done what they did. He wanted to know why everything was so dirty, and he wanted to know why they had used a primer in his air ducts. This seemed extremely unprofessional, and he wanted answers. It took four phone calls for someone to answer the phone, and when they did, they explained they were just the answering service, so he would have to wait for the technicians to call him back. This was not the answer he wanted, but while he waited, he decided to go upstairs and see what mess they had left up there.
He was not prepared for what he would find up there. It looked as if they had disconnected the vent above the unit, but they had not properly reattached it. It was sort of just hanging there and almost seemed to be sagging. A quick touch test revealed that it was leaking air which no doubt would lead to uneven cooling in the home. Carl played with the vent for a minute but couldn’t figure out the best way to reattach it. This was going to take a professional to handle, which was just one more reason why he needed to talk to someone.
Plus, while he was looking around in the attic to see what they had done, he found that they had pushed the condensate pan out of the way and left it sitting against the bottom of the unit. It was a good thing that Carl had gone upstairs to look because this, no doubt, would have led to a leak. If he hadn’t seen that the pan was off, the AC would have just leaked straight onto the floor, and eventually, that would have led to water damage and mold. Carl couldn’t believe that they could have been this clueless, but while he was waiting for the phone call back he learned why they were.
It turned out that the company wasn’t actually owned by any HVAC technicians. In fact, it wasn’t even a company. It was just a group of guys who cleaned out air ducts with equipment that they had purchased online. It was no wonder that they didn’t know how to put the AC vents back on and why there was dirt everywhere. He knew that meant he was going to have to call a real HVAC company to come out to fix the issues that they left behind, but first, he wanted to talk to these guys to see why they did a few of the things he did.
After going through the attic, he attempted to call once again, and this time he got someone who was willing to give them some answers. According to the company, the AC vent was put back on correctly, and any damage that had happened Carl must have done. He knew this wasn’t true, but he wasn’t willing to argue at this point. He had more important things to figure out, and he let them know that he found it like that. He also mentioned that the pan had been moved out of the way of the unit, and they did apologize and said that might have been the new guy they were training. He may not have realized what he was doing.
This led Carl to ask if spraying primer was a regular part of the air duct cleaning service. He was still upset that they would spray something with such strong fumes for no apparent reason. In fact, in his mind, it almost seemed like a fire hazard to spray down air vents. Maybe it wasn’t, but Carl knew either way. It should not have happened. He certainly would have never thought anyone would be using spray paint in the middle of an air duct service.
The answer he got from the technician was not much better. According to the person he spoke to, they had told him that if they found bacteria then they would use the primer to clean and sanitize after they were done cleaning. He added that the primer was to encapsulate any odor left behind by trapping it. Carl was scratching his head on this one. He had never heard of paint removing bad odors. In fact, it seemed like some incredibly bad shortcut since it just replaced one odor with another. He couldn’t wait for the fumes to die down a bit, but since the AC was constantly circulating the air through the vents he didn’t expect it to happen anytime soon.
Carl then asked why the team had left so much dirt around the vents and in his home. He had expected the air duct cleaning service to make his home cleaner; instead, his wife was probably going to spend the rest of the day cleaning. They told him that sometimes dust could come out of vents when service is done, but it shouldn’t be that bad. As Carl eyed his carpets, thinking they were going to have to hire a professional carpet cleaner he did not agree.
It turned out that this experiment with an air duct cleaning service was one of the worst ideas that Carl had in the last few years. It wasn’t because the air duct cleaning service wasn’t a good idea; it was because he chose the wrong company to do it. Carl learned a lot of things that day, including why it is a good idea to check the credentials of the company you hire to come into your home. Had he looked them up and realized they were not even affiliated with any type of HVAC company, he probably would have passed, saving him a lot of trouble.
Now he had to call an actual HVAC company to come to inspect his attic unit and reinstall the vent that was hanging off of it awkwardly. He also would need to get a carpet cleaner to come out to his home to get the dirt out of the carpets, and he expected that he was going to hear all about this from Patty for the rest of the week. He was also contemplating contacting a lawyer to see if there was anything he could do about recouping some of the money he was going to spend on cleanup. The great deal he got on air duct cleaning service from the flier was certainly not worth it in any way.
In the end, Carl learned that he should have gone online and read a few reviews. He also learned that he should have talked to his neighbors because later in the week when he was telling his neighbor what had happened, they had their own horror story about the air duct cleaning service. If he had reached out to a few more people, he could have gotten some advice and avoided this disaster altogether. The worst part of the entire incident was that, from what he could tell; he still needed to have his air ducts cleaned. It didn’t look like much had actually been done, which meant that now he would need to find someone to take care of that as well. He didn’t tell Patty that yet, though; one mess to clean up at a time.
Jessica was a single mom who owned a mom near the center of town. She didn’t know much about repairs, so she usually took advantage of every type of tune-up service. Her goal was to keep everything running so that she didn’t have to worry about repairing any of it. That went for her furnace, AC, stove, water heater, etc. If she could book an annual service then she did. She figured the money would be worth the reduced hassle. That is why when she heard about the air duct cleaning service, her attention was instantly piqued.
She had a son with asthma, and she never thought about what could be hiding in her air ducts. She also never thought about the overall condition of her air duct system. She lived in an older home; what if the system was starting to wear out, and she had no idea? It was a smart call to have someone come out to her home to take a look and let her know what they saw. She had seen the pictures posted online from some of these homes. Imagine if her air ducts looked like that!
It was no wonder that sometimes her son’s asthma seemed to act up when he was at home all day. Perhaps her air ducts were contributing to it! Jessica’s mind was racing, and now that she had the idea in her head she knew that she was never going to be able to settle down unless she dealt with the issue. All she had to do was book an air duct cleaning service, and after they took a look and cleaned out the vents then she could relax again. They would be starting with a clean slate, and she would be the one responsible for keeping things clean. While she couldn’t control the habits of the old homeowner, she could control her own.
The best part was Jessica already knew where to look for an air duct cleaning service. She has seen several people post in the local group about great deals on air duct cleaning. She never gave it a second thought that she didn’t know the names of any of these people or that they had no credentials. They were local neighbors since they were in the neighborhood groups, and she liked the idea of supporting people who lived near her. So, she went to look at the groups and dug up an old ad, and messaged the person who had posted it.
They responded back promptly and told her that they could even come out today for the air duct cleaning service if she wanted. Jessica was taken aback, she had wanted to get it done right away now that it was in her mind, but she didn’t expect it to happen this quickly. This actually should have been a red flag, as a lot of scammers want to take advantage of you as quickly as possible before someone finds out about the scam. They try to pack in as many customers as possible before someone calls them out and they have to disappear for a while. Jessica, however, did not know this and was just glad that someone had some free time to fit her in. She knew how busy HVAC companies could get during the summer in Texas.
She saw this “cancellation” as a sign that she should get air duct cleaning service and immediately told the person that she would take it. She actually never called the company listed in the ad, as she talked to the person through instant messenger on Facebook. They took all of her information through there and talked about the costs. It was so last minute that it didn’t occur to her to ask for a telephone number. They were going to be there in a few hours after all, so she had to concentrate on getting ready for them. Her son was at school, but she would have to take the family pet somewhere while they were here because while the dog was great with them, he was old and cranky and would not enjoy the air duct cleaning service crew.
When they got to her house, the first thing they asked for was payment. Jessica had expected to see some work done first, but they explained it was a flat-rate price regardless of what they found along the way. Therefore, it actually protected everyone. It protected the air duct cleaning service because they knew they were going to get paid, and it protected her because if they found something that took them more time to remove, she wouldn’t have to pay anymore. The logic seemed to make sense to her, so she went ahead and paid their fees before disappearing upstairs to her office to get some work done. She told them to do what they needed to do, and that they could come get her if they had any questions.
This was her second mistake, as it allowed them to do whatever they wanted in her home, which turned out to be very little. By the time everything was said and done, Jessica strongly suspected that they had just sat in various rooms around her home and run vacuum cleaners. While it sounded like they were working the entire time they were there, Jessica later found no evidence that they had done anything. What she found was dislodged dust on her white carpets. She was surprised to also notice that most of the furniture hadn’t been moved away from the vents. They didn’t even try to make it look like they were actually working.
Once again though, she wouldn’t know this until after they left because she barely talked to them when they finished. She happened to be on an important phone call, and since she had already paid them she just waved when they popped into her office. She had glanced at the photos they printed out and gave her and was disgusted by how much they found in her air vents. Thank goodness that she had scheduled the air duct cleaning service, but at that moment in time, she didn’t study the photos. Which is why she missed that those photos weren’t taken in her home.
After walking downstairs to discover more dust than ever near the vents, she started to get suspicious. Finding the furniture had not even been moved made her more suspicious, so she walked up to her office to get those photos they gave her. Now that she was thinking, she wondered how the crew had managed to print copies of these photos so quickly. It’s not like they had a working printer in the back of the pickup truck with the tools. She started to look a little closer at the pictures and realized that they were not even of her house. One of the vents pictured was surrounded by wooden plank flooring if you looked a little closer, and her entire house was carpeted. In addition, the background behind the attic unit was not correct. The walls were open, and the beams were showing in this picture, but her attic was drywalled and finished.
Once she realized that the photos were just dummy photos that they probably handed out to all of their customers, Jessica started to get concerned. She was now pretty sure that she had just been scammed, but she was more afraid of what else they might have done. Reluctantly Jessica walked upstairs to the attic to see what they had done when they went up there to clean the AC. She hoped that there wasn’t any damage because that was the opposite of what she intended to do by booking the air duct cleaning service.
While walking up the stairs Jessica felt enough rage to think about calling the company to yell at them. How dare they attempt to trick her with photos of a disgusting house that wasn’t even hers! Unfortunately, she realized that she actually didn’t have a phone number. She didn’t even have an email. She was going to have to message them, except when she went to message the person she had talked to earlier, she found the messages were all gone. She had been blocked.
Jessica knew for certain now that she had been scammed. What she didn’t know is that air duct cleaning service scams are very popular, and many of these technicians target single women because they are counting on the fact that they don’t know better. Jessica usually would have known better, but she was too trusting because the advertisement came from a local group. She really thought she was helping out some guys in her neighborhood, but it turned out she paid them to essentially do nothing but make her life more difficult. She couldn’t even warn others about them because their advertisements were gone.
She did remember the company name, so she decided to go online and Google it. Maybe this way, she could talk to someone and tell them she knew what they did. Optimally she wanted them to stop scamming people, but she would settle for getting her money back instead of leaving bad reviews all over the web. Speaking of which, she was terribly surprised when she looked the company up online because they had great reviews. She would not have expected this result from a company that so many people raved about.
However, there was just one problem, and it turned out the company name had been a scam as well. The fraudulent air duct cleaning service used the name and logo of a popular HVAC company in the area to look more professional. It turned out that this AC repair company didn’t even handle air duct cleaning service. When she called to talk to someone they said that people had been calling to report a scam lately. She was just the fourth or fifth one to do it this month. Now Jessica was really angry. The scammers had not only taken her money, but they took her pride and took advantage of her being a single mother.
She knew she was probably never going to see her money again, but now she also knew that she probably was going to have to spend more money to clean up their mess. Even if she could get around a professional cleaner by handling the dirt they left behind on her own; she needed someone to help her with the upstairs AC unit. It appeared that all of the seals were missing around the vents, and that was bound to be a big problem. A little more research online revealed that sometimes scammers would take these so that the AC would stop working, and they would get called out to do more work. Then they could collect a second time without really doing anything but putting back the seals they stole.
The only reason that this didn’t work was because Jessica had called the company that they stole the name of instead of DMing them. If they hadn’t blocked her she might have called them, but that option was off the table. Jessica hated looking like a victim, but there was no denying that is what had happened. She learned a very important lesson that day. First, she needed to verify any company that she chose to work with in the future, and second that she would never hire someone off social media again. There were just too many pitfalls that way. It was much better to go online and find a company with a vast amount of reviews to handle her air duct cleaning service or any other HVAC repair.
If you are worried about having an HVAC technician out to your home, choose One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas. Our team is not only fully trained and licensed, but our technicians are experienced and reliable. You won’t need to worry about anything else when you choose our team to take care of all your AC and heating repair needs.
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