12 Facts about Duct Cleaning
How to Avoid Scams
Duct Cleaning Special, only $39.99!
Duct cleaning 84% off!
$290 worth of services for only $29.00!
What do these three statements have in common? They are all gimmicks to convince you that these companies will really give you an amazing deal. But y’all, when it’s too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of people out there who will try to take advantage of you with duct cleaning scams.6 They claim you get all these ‘services,’ but what they really do is rip you off.1 In this post, we give you the facts about duct cleaning, and how to avoid being scammed.
Why have your ducts cleaned?
According to the EPA, there are 3 main reasons you might want to have your ducts cleaned:
- Ducts are clogged with dust or debris and the particles are being released into your home
- Ducts are infested with rodents or insects
- There is substantial mold growth inside your heating and cooling system.3
Purchasing a home is another time when duct cleaning may be needed.7 If previous owners had pets or smoked, it is more likely that ducts could be clogged or need cleaning. If your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is in a crawl space, it is also more likely to be prone to leaks and mold growth.4 For more information see our post: HVAC System in Your Crawl Space? You May Be Breathing Dirty Air.4
Service Failure or Duct Cleaning Scam?
In the News
There are many examples of companies that do not do as they promise. In this news report from WMC5 Action News, a woman contacted a company with an add on Groupon. 6 The representatives seemed very professional on the phone and by email. 6 The technician arrived and began coughing. He showed the homeowner a picture of moldy vents, and told her she had mold. She decided to have them cleaned because she was concerned. 6 Then, her bill went from $27 to over $700. 6 The technician spent about 7 minutes ‘cleaning’ her system and showed her a clean picture – of a different vent! 6 He then left with her money! 6
Inside Edition’s House of Shame Series uncovered service technicians doing something similar using hidden cameras. 1 The first company’s ad promised a $29.99 cleaning, but when the technician inspected the ducts, he spent more time checking out the items in the home than looking at the ducts.1 He then tried to charge $700 for something the experts said should have been a basic cleaning. 1 Another company was told to go ahead and clean, but the technician didn’t even begin to use his vacuum until someone was watching. 1 None of the companies hired by Inside Edition’s investigators did what they promised.1
This sort of thing happens right here in Northeast Georgia as well. We recently performed a mold
inspection for a mortgage company. This mortgage company required a mold inspection prior to the sale of a home. The homeowners had recently paid to have the ducts in their home cleaned, and after receiving several estimates from different companies, chose the cheapest company. We inspected and found evidence of mold, and evidence that the vents had not been cleaned properly. Parts of the system that should have obviously been removed for cleaning were untouched and full of debris.
We have since inspected the home 3 additional times, with no improvement to the state of the ducts. The homeowners paid a bargain price to have their vents cleaned, but are now stuck with an expensive problem. The mortgage company won’t release the money for the sale of the home unless the home passes inspection. To add insult to injury, the homeowners are on the hook for the cost of our inspections (4 times now). That bargain basement price doesn’t look like a bargain any more!
How to Avoid Scams
Don’t let this happen to you! Here’s what you should know when hiring a company to clean your ducts.
Top 3 Duct Cleaning Scams
1.Blow and Go – The technician comes in and looks around, gets surface dust and dirt, and then leaves.2 They typically have many appointments in one day and don’t spend enough time truly trying to clean the ducts.2 They may not even remove parts to get to the interior of the system.2
2.Bait and Switch – That $39.99 cleaning turns into $700 amazingly fast.1,2 They bait you with the cheap price, and then up-sell, or even charge for additional work you didn’t agree to have performed!1.2 Then, their work is still low quality.1,2
According to the EPA, duct cleaning “services typically – but not always – range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on: the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climatic region, and level of contamination.”3 Any provider that offers a ‘$39.99 duct cleaning special,’ isn’t offering a full service cleaning.2 There are many scam artists out there. There are also unscrupulous companies who plan to ‘add on’ additional services whether you agree to them or not.2
3.Mold Inspection – Scammers prey on your fears, use a cheap coupon or add to get their foot in the door.2 Then, they tell you you have mold…even if you don’t!4
Here’s where we can help. If mold has been ‘found’ by a contractor, put a hold on the job, and get a second opinion. We are experts at mold remediation and can tell you for sure if you have a problem or not. Call us or schedule an inspection today!
How to Protect Yourself from Scams
- Do your homework – Know as much as you can about the company before hiring them.
- Avoid advertisements or specials that advertise ‘whole house cleaning specials’ for less than $100. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Request a system inspection before agreeing to the cleaning.
- Ask for proof of licences and insurance. A reputable company should be able to show you instant proof of these important documents.
- Hire a professional. Does the company have a good reputation? Are they transparent in what they are selling? Can they tell you more about the process of cleaning before you agree to have it done?
- We’re Here When You Need Us. We routinely inspect HVAC systems and can tell you for sure if you have mold. If you do have mold, you want it to be removed safely. Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal, but at determining and remediating the underlying causes.
Don’t get hustled, get smart!
Duct cleaning can improve your health, especially if you have allergies to dust or pet dander, or have specific problems such as: insect or rodent infestations or mold growth. Avoid scams by doing your homework, and request important documents, such as licences and insurance, before technicians arrive. Don’t fall for cheap coupons or gimmicks. If they say you have mold, get a second opinion.
Better yet call us, and we can tell you for sure. We believe that no one should live or work in a building that makes them sick. We will treat your home like it’s our own. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
For more information go to :
- Hidden Camera Investigation Reveals Technician Charging $700 For Easy Air Vent Fix – Inside Edition
- Common Air Duct Cleaning Scams and How to Avoid Them – NADCA
- Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? | US EPA
- HVAC System in Your Crawl Space? You May Be Breathing Dirty Air – Branch Environmental
- How To Seal Floor Vents and Improve Indoor Air Quality – Branch Environmental
- Cordova woman says she was duped for hundreds of dollars in an air duct cleaning job with fake photos – WMC5 News, By Kelli Cook
- When The Home Inspection Misses The Mold – Branch Environmental
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