Irrespective of the weather outside, technology has allowed humankind to create the ideal weather inside their house. With the help of advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, you can create your own ecosystem in your house. Several things constitute the HVAC systems, but the air ducts are of prime importance. They function as conduits to supply air, return air, and exhaust it from the home itself. But, like every other appliance, even HVAC systems need maintenance, especially air ducts. If the air ducts aren’t cleaned at regular intervals, gradually every visible surface will be covered in a thick layer of dust, dirt, and debris. These are the usual contents inside an air duct, but they are not visible to you as air ducts are hidden in the inner structure of the house. It is easy to forget about their existence. The usual “out of sight, out of mind” mantra doesn’t work here as the air ducts will end up being clogged with pollutants.
It is essential to get the air ducts cleaned once in a while. A word to the wise—do not attempt to DIY the air duct cleaning process. Let professionals handle this as there are several things that can go wrong. In an attempt to save money, you might end up incurring more costs. So, use the browse through the Internet and put your research skills to use. There are certain things you need to know before you begin your search as this will help you streamline your quest to find the right duct cleaning company better.
What are the things to know before opting for air duct cleaning services?
Most people will find it hard to refuse an opportunity to get their air ducts cleaned at a cheaper price. However, these things never materialize the way you want them to. So, it is essential to be prepared to deal with the worst-case scenarios. If you are a novice at this, there are certain caveats you need to be well-versed with as they will prove effective in keeping scammers at bay. So, ensure that you gain the much-needed knowledge and acquaint yourself with the common techniques that some cleaning companies use to hoodwink innocent homeowners.
- Gauge whether the air duct cleaning is necessary or not: An important task you need to conform to before you call the duct cleaning services is to determine whether the air duct actually needs cleaning. For instance, if you are moving into a newly built house, you might have to conduct an immediate air duct cleaning. As a lot of construction debris, drywall scraps, and sawdust might end up in the air ducts post-construction, an air duct cleaning becomes necessary. Experts suggest that it is essential to get the air ducts cleaned every 7 to 10 years unless a family member has breathing issues; then you will need to get the air ducts cleaned more frequently. In such cases, you can get the cleaning done at a more affordable price. All you have to do is contact your HVAC provider and upgrade the furnace filtration in this situation. Doing so is more sensible than spending money every year on duct cleaning services.
- Include HVAC system cleaning as well: Usually, people assume that air duct cleaning is enough to improve the quality of the air in the house. However, this process is incomplete without a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system. But, there’s a catch here. Most duct cleaning companies aren’t allowed to touch the HVAC system unless they have a valid HVAC license. In case you wish to have your HVAC system cleaned as well, you can ask the cleaning services for their license number. This helps you crosscheck the legitimacy of the duct cleaning service’s offer on cleaning the HVAC system.
- Beware of upsellers: If you are getting your carpets cleaned, do not fall for the classic upselling trap that naive homeowners often fall into. Carpet cleaners often upsell their cleaning skills by offering to clean your air ducts along with the carpets. The rock-bottom price might appeal to your desire to save more money, but it can have serious repercussions. So, do not take the bait. There are several instances when carpet cleaning companies assert to clean your air ducts for a meager price. However, this “cleaning process” involves removing and vacuuming the registers, sticking their vacuum into the duct at the register, and re-attaching the register once they are done. This isn’t how professional air duct cleaning services work. It is imperative that you do not treat air duct cleaning as an add-on service and do not take up on the offer presented by the eager carpet cleaners.
- Do not fall for unsolicited pitches: There are several scams when it comes to air duct cleaning companies. A popular way of conning people is to call them and inform them that the cleaners will be in their neighborhood the coming week and will charge a ridiculously low price of about $25 to clean their air ducts. Do not fall for such scams as most of them don’t pan out, and the ones that do, the results are quite disastrous. So, be on guard against such scammers. You might end up shelling a lot more than just $25.
- Do not cave into the mold scare tactic: This is one of the oldest tricks most cleaning companies use to turn inquiries into a complete deal. Certain companies put a mold test kit in the house and hope that the test results will prompt you to take immediate action. If the mold test kit yields positive results, you will be advised to get your air ducts cleaned immediately. So, if any company asks you to get your air ducts cleaned due to a mold problem, double-check their inference by using your own test kit. You can buy this from any home improvement store.
How to choose the right air duct system cleaning company?
If you feel that you are qualified to make the right decision because you can identify scams, then gear up; this is just the groundwork. The real work begins at finding a duct cleaning company that meets your expectations. Identifying scams is just the first part of your journey to find a legit air duct cleaning company. There are several factors that go into the process of choosing a reliable duct cleaning company. It is essential to be well-acquainted with the various dictates of choosing the right duct cleaning service provider for your home.
- Extensive background research is a must: While looking for the right air duct cleaning services, you must conduct intensive background research of the company. You can inquire about the company’s experience in cleaning air ducts. In case the company is relatively new to the air duct cleaning business, you can ask the employees about their prior experience. While you are at it, ask the companies for referrals from past clients to check whether the customers are satisfied with the services. You can even consult with your friends, neighbors, or other homeowners for referrals or recommendations of other air duct cleaning services. Another great way of finding the right air duct cleaning company is to use the handiest tool available at your disposal—the Internet. You can directly visit a company’s website and read the customer feedback testimonials as it will help cement your decision.
- When in doubt, contact the BBB: The BBB or Better Business Bureau is a private, non-profit organization that keeps a record of all the complaints that are filed with them against companies. If you have shortlisted certain duct cleaning services, you can run it by the BBB. This will give you a fair idea about the air duct cleaning company’s standing in the market. The BBB investigates how well a particular company handles the complaints against them, and the company is rated and graded on this basis. You have complete access to check out almost any company with the BBB. This proves to be quite beneficial as it offers parameters to compare the companies, and helps you make an informed choice. You can even base your decision on the ratings offered by the BBB. For instance, if a particular air duct cleaning service is graded F by the BBB, it is sensible to not do any kind of business with them.
- Insurance is a must: While you are looking for air duct cleaning companies, shortlist the ones that have insurance. This insurance comes in handy if you need reimbursements in case your home or any other personal property was damaged during the cleaning process. Although such situations are avoidable if you choose duct cleaning services that have experienced employees, it is always sensible to stay prepared for every possible scenario.
- Choose from NADCA-certified companies only: Another cardinal rule while browsing for the best duct cleaning services is to ensure that all the top contenders are NADCA certified. NADCA or the National Air Duct Cleaners Association is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to publishing standards for safety, evaluation, and cleaning of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts. This organization even offers several certifications for HVAC companies and professionals and has its own anti-fraud task force. The NADCA-certified duct cleaning services are trained and function in compliance with all the rules and regulations pertaining to safety while handling the process. You can confirm whether the duct cleaning companies are a part of the NADCA by visiting their official website. You can view the list of cleaning companies registered with the NADCA before hiring one. It is essential to adhere to this parameter as the members of this group have to follow a strict code of ethics and carry liability insurance to retain their membership. These companies can also address issues with the HVAC system along with ductwork.
- Check the type of treatments the company offers: When you are on the duct company’s website, check the type of treatments it offers. Whether they use chemical treatments or chemical bio-acids for cleaning purposes is an essential factor to consider while choosing an air duct cleaning service. These treatments are quite effective in cleaning the air duct and even preventing the future growth of biological substances in the air ducts. However, these chemical treatment methods can be harmful to your health. As a majority of these duct cleaning services offer chemical-based treatments, you need to find an intermediate solution. You can check with the cleaning company regarding the chemical products they use. All you have to do is go through the product label and read and verify the instructions pertaining to its use. This will help you understand how to protect yourself from any sort of harmful emissions.
- Verify and compare the services: Usually, air duct cleaning companies check your system for any existing asbestos as this would require them to use specialized cleaning procedures. Legit duct cleaning companies take measures to protect you and your pets from any contamination that can be a by-product of their cleaning process. These cleaning companies even protect your personal belongings. Another important task that every authentic duct cleaning company has to perform is to properly seal and insulate any visible holes that might have formed during their cleaning process. Shortlist companies that provide these services.
- Substantiate the rates and fees: Price is often the determining factor when it comes to choosing anything. So, before you finalize any duct cleaning company, get an estimate of the total expenditure. Determine whether the company will charge you by the hour or according to the treatment process they will undertake. There are instances when disputes pertaining to the price arise when the work is in motion. To prevent unnecessary hassles from popping up in the midst of the process, obtain a copy of the written agreement, which outlines the costs and fees you will be incurring.
- Determine the time taken for the entire procedure: Getting the air ducts cleaned is not a small task. It is essential that you discuss with the duct cleaning company about the time taken for the entire procedure. This allows you to make arrangements beforehand. So, address your concern regarding the time frame; whether it will take a few hours, several days, or if the cleaning process will be split over a series of days.
These tips will help you make an informed decision. Choosing a duct cleaning company that offers what it promises at an affordable price, without flouting safety rules can be taxing. But, investing your time on research and inquiries will save the headache that follows shoddy work done at dirt-cheap rates.