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McCutcheon Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

3 minutes reading time (510 words)

Air Duct Cleaning Scams.

The question is "Can your A/C air ducts really be efficiently cleaned?"

Many disreputable Air Conditioning companies offer cheap duct cleaning. They run specials for $49.95 and claim to be able to clean the air in your home. They will scare you with warnings that you have filthy moldy ducts and the health of your family could be in danger.

One company even uses this line " The average single-family home will have gallons of dust collecting on the walls of air ducts..." They offer to clean your vents for $15.00 each. Funny enough - their ad looks like they are holding a vacuum up to an air vent. That must be one powerful vacuum to suck gallons of dust from hundreds of feet of ducts.

There have been horror stories about people spending thousands of dollars just to have an A/C company do nothing more than spray cans of Lysol into the vents while the AC is running and then claim the ducts have been sanitized.

Some companies use special brushes at the end of long poles and claim they can remove the dust, mold, and etc, that way.

So what is the truth about duct cleaning?

The truth is that most residential A/C Air Ducts cannot be properly cleaned.

If you have Flexible Ducts the act of stuffing a brush through them will rip the material and create holes in the ductwork. The result: Not only are your ducts not clean - but now you are losing cold air into your attic as well as letting more contaminants (and maybe a few little critters) into your home.

If your ducts are made of fiberglass board - not only can they not be properly cleaned, but the act of trying to clean them will most likely result in filling your ducts, and your home with tiny little fiberglass particles. Some fiberglass ducts have a coating that will reduce the amount of fiberglass particles created - but there will still be more than 50% of the "dust" left remaining.

Unfortunately the only type of ducts designed to be cleaned are usually for commercial applications.

Let us repeat: Very few residential duct systems can be effectively cleaned without dismantling or replacement.

So how about sanitizing ductwork?

One of the most efficient and acceptable ways to sanitize ductwork is by using a type of fog machine that will mist a chemical that can sometimes kill mold growing in ducts. Usually you will have to completely vacate the premises for up to 6 hours while this is going on. Even then, you can only expect a 40% success rate.

Bottom line - beware of duct cleaning scams. Usually the unscrupulous contractor will use this as a means to gain access to your home and intentionally mislead the homeowner into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for additional work.

At Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating - we want you to you be informed, and we want you to know the facts. Feel free to call or email us anytime you have a question.

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Comments 11

Guest - Andrei (website) on Wednesday, 27 May 2020 12:35

I really like the way this article is written. It's very correct on the case as well. We rarely think about what kind of air we breathe, even though it is a fundamental part of our lives. We only understand it when we are deprived of good air. I think it's very important to find specialists who can help make the air in the house breathable.

I really like the way this article is written. It's very correct on the case as well. We rarely think about what kind of air we breathe, even though it is a fundamental part of our lives. We only understand it when we are deprived of good air. I think it's very important to find specialists who can help make the air in the house breathable.
Guest - James on Saturday, 26 September 2020 18:36

Nice post.

Nice post.
Guest - AC Duct Cleaning (website) on Wednesday, 21 October 2020 08:54

Thanks for sharing details with us. There is certainly a lot to find out about this topic.

Thanks for sharing details with us. There is certainly a lot to find out about this topic.
Guest - Air Duct Sanitizing and Disinfection (website) on Friday, 23 October 2020 14:22

Thanks for sharing details with us. I'll definitely look after this.

Thanks for sharing details with us. I'll definitely look after this.
Guest - Olivia Williams (website) on Thursday, 28 January 2021 06:43

Thanks admin for writing such a great post on a very serious topic like this and helping newbies like me understand about this in a very clear manner.

Thanks admin for writing such a great post on a very serious topic like this and helping newbies like me understand about this in a very clear manner.
Guest - Yi Lingxing (website) on Tuesday, 23 February 2021 06:41

A very useful article for me, because I used to really think the A/C vent duct can be cleaned easily, a little awkward. And now I read your aricle, I learn the right way to clean the A/C, and I will try the methods you mentioned in your article.And I will continue to follow you.Thanks for sharing such a useful article.I am looking forward your next article.

A very useful article for me, because I used to really think the A/C vent duct can be cleaned easily, a little awkward. And now I read your aricle, I learn the right way to clean the A/C, and I will try the methods you mentioned in your article.And I will continue to follow you.Thanks for sharing such a useful article.I am looking forward your next article.
Guest - Green Leaf Air Dallas (website) on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:08

There have been horror stories about people spending thousands of dollars just to have an A/C company do nothing more than spray cans of Lysol into the vents while the AC is running and then claim the ducts have been sanitized.

There have been horror stories about people spending thousands of dollars just to have an A/C company do nothing more than spray cans of Lysol into the vents while the AC is running and then claim the ducts have been sanitized.
Guest - Green Leaf Air (website) on Friday, 02 April 2021 16:44

I think There have been horror stories about people spending thousands of dollars just to have an A/C company do nothing more than spray cans of Lysol into the vents while the AC is running and then claim the ducts have been sanitized.

I think There have been horror stories about people spending thousands of dollars just to have an A/C company do nothing more than spray cans of Lysol into the vents while the AC is running and then claim the ducts have been sanitized.
Guest - Stephen Mannuzza on Thursday, 29 April 2021 18:35

I find it amazing that there are businesses that do nothing but clean the air conditioning vents with vacuuming and spinning brushes. Is there any benefit at all from these companies?

I find it amazing that there are businesses that do nothing but clean the air conditioning vents with vacuuming and spinning brushes. Is there any benefit at all from these companies?
Guest - Rene Carlson (website) on Friday, 21 May 2021 08:37

I was one of those who was surprised that there were businesses that did nothing but clean air conditioners with a vent vacuum and rotating brushes. Thanks and I read this article I learned so much.

I was one of those who was surprised that there were businesses that did nothing but clean air conditioners with a vent vacuum and rotating brushes. Thanks and I read this article I learned so much.
Guest - Franklin Dwight (website) on Friday, 19 November 2021 12:56

This stuff made me think twice but has a point to be considered though. Thanks for sharing this article. Commercial HVAC Spokane.

This stuff made me think twice but has a point to be considered though. Thanks for sharing this article. Commercial HVAC Spokane.
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