While there are reputable, professional HVAC cleaning services out there, there are scams as well. Don’t be frightened into emptying your checkbook when a company claims your home might be “unhealthy,”
Here are a few tips to avoid HVAC scams and how to work with a reputable, licensed, HVAC company:
- Full Service: Don’t agree to just duct cleaning. Get a full cleaning of your cooling/heating unit.
- References: Get and check references in your area to find out what was provided for the money. Also, find out if those customers were happy with the results.
- Estimates: Ask for written estimates from at least three HVAC cleaning services. A reputable company should provide a free inspection and estimate.
- Avoid Gimmicks: Avoid $80 entire home specials as they are scams that they will only clean a few ducts for this and they’ll talk you into a more expensive package. High-quality duct and HVAC cleaning should cost upwards of $500, which is done over several hours with specialized equipment, and staff from the company to get the job done.
- Certifications: The Air Systems/Duct Cleaning Company should be certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, which is the organization that sets standards for HVAC system cleaning. Anyone that says the EPA does not certify duct cleaners should be avoided from making that claim. Check to see their insurance and licenses/certifications and make sure that you know what the state requirements are for licensing because many states do not require this.
- Check Standards: The company you work should follow guidelines of the NAIMA – North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.
- Verify Results: An experienced company will provide a complete visual inspection of the HVAC system and duct work, by person or by remote camera. Before paying, check to see that every duct has been cleaned to your satisfaction and look to see the inside of the HVAC unit.
- Don’t Get Fooled: Intake ducts (room ducts that return air to the heating/cooling unit) are likely to be dirtier than supply ducts (which deliver conditioned air from the HVAC unit), since they often don’t have filters. Ask for “before-and-after” photos of the supply ducts, so you can see that the air is now clean.
- Avoid Sprays, Sealants and Chemicals: Both the NADCA and EPA don’t recommend using sprayed sealants or other cleaning chemicals that could be potentially harmful inside air ducts. Biocides and anti-microbial treatments are also iffy, since the chemicals may cause more harm than good to your health. Chemicals are not registered with the EPA for inside duct work.
- Steam Cleaning Should Be Avoided: Your ducts should not be cleaned with moisture or steam.