Learn how to spot and avid popular air duct cleaning scams.
The reality is that there will always be people who will exploit others. It’s a scammer’s paradise in the home improvement industry. Especially in the air duct cleaning industry, air duct cleaning scams are common where homeowners don’t know what to look for.
The scammers take advantage of those who don’t have sufficient knowledge about duct cleaning.
A lot of houses have complicated repair and maintenance needs that the average homeowner isn’t comfortable handling on his own. This is well known to scammers, so they’ll take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners who don’t do their research before hiring.
How Does Air Duct Cleaning Work?
Dirt and debris accumulate over time in the supply and return air ducts. A lot of pollutants are found inside the ducts, like pet dander, pollen, mildew, and bacteria. Dust and dirt are sucked out by air duct cleaning, ensuring your system is clean.
Some research says air duct cleaning improves indoor air quality. Other people say it gets rid of stale indoor odors. The most consistent and tested result of duct cleanings is increased system efficiency, which enables the HVAC to operate at top performance with less effort.
Here is how air duct cleaning enhances the system’s efficiency. Think about how dirty heating and cooling coils, dirty motors, and layered air handling components make it harder for the system to work properly.
Cleaning professionals use blowers, vacuums, and brushes to remove contaminants from intake, supply, and return ducts. A quality job also includes cleaning the grilles, fans, motors, coils, air handlers, and housings of HVAC systems.
Knowing what proper air duct cleaning entails will help homeowners avoid getting sucked into schemes that don’t work.
Air Duct Cleaning Scams
What Kinds Of Air Duct Cleaning Scams Are Out There?
- Blow and Go
Flyers and Facebook groups are full of cheap “blow-and-go” duct cleaning services. Duct cleaners can clean two to four homes a day, depending on the size of the home.
Blowing-and-going air duct cleaning scams companies usually schedule more than four appointments in one day, so they can clean the ductwork that can be seen, but they leave contaminants behind in harder-to-see places.
Heating and cooling systems aren’t cleaned well by these air duct cleaning scams companies, and they may try to sell you services you don’t need.
- Bait and Switch
You get a bait-and-switch when you’re offered an amazing deal over the phone, through email, or on social media like $199 for air duct cleaning. When the company comes to clean the ducts, they may only do half the work or charge you three times more for poor service.
It’s typical in a bait-and-switch for the firm to simply clean your supply ducting and later show you how filthy your return ductwork is and advise you to pay twice as much as they initially suggested.
This is called overcharged air duct cleaning scams which these sorts of air duct cleaning companies offer.
Bait-and-switch air duct cleaning scams try to sell “additional services” that are usually included with NADCA duct cleaning. But you’re still not going to get quality work if you commit to the upsells.
- Fraudulent Mold Inspections
Just to get homeowners on board, some air duct cleaning scams offer a one-time deal. Afterward, they’ll claim mold was found in the ductwork and try to upsell you on expensive remediation.
Most homeowners don’t know much about mold, so when a company tells them they have mold in their air ducts, they want it fixed as soon as possible.
You can get stung for a lot of money. It’s a good idea to get a second and third opinion if a company says your ducts have mold before you pay someone to get it out! Air duct cleaning scams often make claims about mold that isn’t even present inside the air duct.
If this ever happens to you, don’t do anything without getting a second and third opinion. To find out whether there’s a mold problem, call a certified mold inspector.
- Using Unprofessional Tools
Worse yet, they use inferior equipment to clean a few vents with handheld vacuums. Substandard tools damage the ducts or release more dirt into your house, which exacerbates the problem.
This kind of scammer wraps up the work in just half an hour. If you are well informed about the air duct cleaning procedure, so you must know that air duct cleaning never completes in half an hour.
Proper air duct cleaners use professional indoor (HEPA filtered pro vacuums) or outdoor vented equipment (where possible), which means trapped dirt is never goes inside your house or even vented to the outside of the house. Getting a job done right takes at least three to four hours for a legit air duct cleaner.
How Can You Avoid Duct Cleaning Scams?
The worst error a homeowner can make is to assume that all businesses offer quality service and that the only factor distinguishing them is pricing.
The higher prices of reputable companies may appear to be more expensive in comparison with scammers who are trying to undercut prices, but in the long run, these higher prices are well worth the expense.
Many homeowners are interested in air duct cleaning but are worried about scams, so they ask, “How should I protect myself against air duct cleaning scams?” Keep these tips in mind to avoid air duct cleaning scams:
- Watch Out For Warning Signs
Avoid air duct cleaning scams with transactions requiring complete upfront payment, unrealistic pricing, high-pressure sales techniques, and contracts that aren’t in writing.
If a company’s bid is much lower than others, it might mean they don’t intend to complete the work and are looking for an upsell. So you have to be careful with that.
- Research It
Ideally, scammers never want you to be well informed regarding air duct cleaning and licensing, as it makes their job much easier! Ensure credentials are valid and ask for proof of insurance and licenses.
- Find A Certified Professional
It’s common for contractors to need certification to bid on work in commercial or industrial buildings. NADCA-certified technicians clean air ducts to a higher standard. Choosing a NADCA member means you’re hiring someone with advanced training and certifications in HVAC system cleaning.
You can make sure you’re hiring a certified professional registered with NADCA. You can also search for a certified air duct cleaning professional in your area on NADCA’s Find a Professional page if you don’t live in one of the metro areas served by Best Pick Reports.
- Get Licensing Information
These scammers are often unlicensed. You can avoid these scams by asking about licensing. State licensing boards also let homeowners verify licenses and insurance.
Beware of vendors offering prices below the market. Some even don’t provide receipts after payment. Also, beware of heavily discounted coupons.
- Take Your Time
Do some research before you act on a bit of information you receive in the mail, such as a pamphlet, a flyer, or a coupon. Take a look at the company’s website to see what kind of company it is. Does it have a license and insurance?
Does it have any reviews on Yelp or Google? If so, what kind of reviews does it have? Is the company a new one or has it been around for a long time?
Taking the necessary precautions to avoid dishonest air duct cleaning scams is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Don’t make the mistake of assuming all air duct cleaning companies provide high-quality services. It’s not true.
There are a lot of factors that differentiate scammers from legitimate companies, and price isn’t the only one of them.
Consider these characteristics when selecting a company to clean your ducts to make sure you are getting a high-quality service:
- A track record of positive customer feedback based on many years of experience.
- Certified by a national or state organization.
- An A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- It would be best if you could obtain a written price guarantee.
- You should check with the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) to find out what standards should be followed.
- Consult the Consumer Affairs department for more information.
- Use the resources offered by Angie’s List if you are a member of this community.
- Be sure to read the fine print on all offers before you make a decision.
- There is no company that will commute for $39.99 to do business with you; check the company’s location first.
Research is key to protecting yourself, and the more you do, the better you will be able to do. To make sure you’re paying a fair price, it’s also a good idea to request quotations from at least two or three different air duct cleaning companies.
Choose a Reputable Company to Take Care Of Your Air Ducts
When you need to have your air ducts in your home or business thoroughly and effectively cleaned, you should contact a trustworthy air duct cleaning company to get the job done.
A qualified professional from air duct cleaning services uses professional equipment and standard procedures to ensure that every air duct in the house receives a complete cleaning.
Apart from the ducts, the entire HVAC system will be cleaned, from the heat exchangers to the heating and cooling coils to the registers and grilles. Besides that, the fan motor, housing, and drip pans are also cleaned.
Plus, air duct cleaning professionals are well-trained to be able to clean difficult-to-access areas of a home of any size.
What You Need To Know About Avoiding Facebook Duct Cleaning Scams
In recent years, some scammers have become very good at making their classified ads appear as if they are legitimate. A huge deposit is usually required upfront, or you’ll have to give them your personal information, but the goal is to get you to say “yes.” Despite all this, there’s no way you’re getting your ducts cleaned.
Often, you’ll be asked to enter your personal information on a given link that is not even connected to the business. When it comes to figuring out whether a post is a scam, there are some key factors to watch out for. Take a look at these things.
- If you come across a post that says, “Just look at my work, don’t go into my words. It is not a scam.” Understand that this is simply a scam. Reputable air duct cleaning companies don’t need to say that it is not a scam. They simply sell their work.
- They won’t give you a company name. Authentic companies want their name out there so people can see what they do.
- You get a fake business name via a personal message, like “Duct Cleaners” or “Duct Cleaning Colorado”. It’s too generic to find on Google since the company isn’t real.
- If you try to use Google or any other search engine to find the phone number sometimes provided on these scam posts, you will not find it.
- This Facebook account is either a few days old or a few weeks old. The names of these users are generally not the same as the names of the users in the URLs. When it comes to spotting a scam, this is one of the biggest and easiest red flags to look for.
- There is nothing that can be seen on their Facebook profile as the profiles are locked.
- According to their occupation, they are employed by Facebook Marketplace.
- It is common for scammers to use words like “kindly.” For example, Kindly message me to get our service.
How to Spot Air Duct Cleaning Scams
- Certification Claims by Duct Cleaners
These days, anyone can say they’re a licensed or certified air duct cleaner. People who feel that they are in dire need of clean air ducts might not always verify their credentials. However, this is a mistake that you must not make, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).
Just don’t believe someone who appears in front of you and claims to be an expert in air duct cleaning.
You should contact the association or search their directory to make sure that they are members before proceeding with any ductwork work. It is important to note that not every legitimate duct cleaning company belongs to the NADCA. In any case, if they claim membership, do your research.
- Super Low Discounts
In most cases, duct cleaning costs up to $1,800, depending on the size of your house. You might think that this is a lot of money, but prices certainly differ and you can speak to an expert about an estimate before you proceed.
Scammers are aware of the fact that you may think you are getting a good deal if they add extra services like mold remediation on top. As a matter of fact, it is highly unlikely that there are any traces of mold growth in your ductwork.
Scammers take advantage of your fear of mold growth and make you spend your money on unnecessary services.
When it comes to professional air duct cleaning companies, the real problem will be shown to you before any estimate is written. Don’t be afraid to ask your duct cleaning technician to show you the problem or show you pictures. Take your time and look at the evidence before you make any decisions.
- Getting Your Ducts Cleaned Won’t Quickly Fix Your Health Problems And Indoor Air Quality
It’s true that air duct cleaning improves overall indoor air quality and minimizes respiratory issues in the home members that can be exacerbated by poor indoor air quality.
However, indoor air quality doesn’t suddenly improve. It takes time. So if scammers claim a sudden improvement in indoor air quality and health issues, that’s not correct. Don’t fall for it.
Even simple household tasks can expose you to respiratory issue-causing contaminants, so just cleaning your air ducts might not be enough. However, to ensure they stay efficient and functional, you should clean your ducts every 1 to 2 years.
- A Thorough Duct Cleaning Takes Time
Ensuring that you have clean air ducts doesn’t call for any hassle or quick air duct cleaning. A professional air duct cleaning company will properly inspect your HVAC system for any dirt particles that may be causing problems with your system.
The professional will tell you about the pressing issues with the system and give you an estimate of the cost. The majority of duct cleaning jobs require at least two hours to finish because of the required setup work and cleaning of the compartment blower, duct system, and return vents.
Less than an hour of duct cleaning means your ducts weren’t cleaned properly.
Unfortunately, there are always people out there who take advantage of others. There are scammers in every industry. When it comes to the air duct cleaning industry, you’ll get plenty of such scammers who give false claims and appear to be certified duct cleaners.
Don’t fall into their traps. Get complete information about air duct cleaning and follow all the precautionary measures to protect yourself against fraudulent companies.