Since most of the dust in your home’s ducts tends to stay in the ductwork, air duct cleaning isn’t required regular maintenance in most homes. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency advises homeowners to only clean air ducts when the homeowner detects mold growth, an insect or rodent infestation, or excessive dirt and debris inside the ductwork. But when those problems do arise, most homeowners lack the expertise and tools required to thoroughly clean air ducts themselves. This is a job that requires the expertise of a professional service.
Air duct cleaning services can vary dramatically in price and quality, making choosing the right professional a confusing process. While it’s vital to hire a service that adheres to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), there are other factors to consider. This guide will discuss what attributes are crucial to consider when vetting a duct cleaning service while also reviewing some of the country’s most reputable air duct cleaning companies.
- BEST OVERALL: DUCTZ
- BEST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: Stanley Steemer
- BEST EMERGENCY SERVICE: SERVPRO
- BEST AGGREGATOR: HomeAdvisor
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Air Duct Cleaning Services
Since quality HVAC duct cleaning can vary greatly from service to service, it’s important to consider a few important factors when vetting a company, including certification, cleaning methods, and customer service. Ahead learn more about these and other crucial attributes of air duct cleaning services.
The first step in selecting a duct cleaning service is identifying which ones serve the home’s location. An online search is typically one of the best ways to identify local duct cleaning services. Keep in mind that some services may only serve commercial properties while others will service residential or both. It’s also important to note that some national duct cleaning companies provide different services in different parts of the country. Ensuring the office that serves the home’s location offers the appropriate services is crucial when hiring a company.
Many regional and national AC duct cleaning services allow customers to sign up for service online or by phone. While online scheduling may be more convenient, a person-to-person phone call allows the homeowner to communicate vital information, such as the condition of the ducts, details about the home’s HVAC system, and other pertinent information. If the need for duct cleaning is urgent—as in the case of a rat infestation or mold problem—a phone call will typically expedite service more quickly than filling out an online service request form. Keep in mind that some companies offer consultations or in-home inspections prior to performing the labor. While this may seem like an inconvenient extra step, a company willing to perform an inspection before cleaning the ducts is more likely to do the job right than one that is not.
Any duct cleaning service worth its salt should have a National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) certification. The NADCA is responsible for developing and researching standards for cleaning air ducts. The duct cleaning service must adhere to these standards and have at least one Air System Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) on staff to earn this certification. An ASCS has taken classes in these standards and passed an exam to achieve this certification. Most air duct cleaning services display their NADCA certification prominently on their web page.
In addition to NADCA certification, a homeowner should also check if the company is a member of the ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America). The ACCA sets standards contractors should follow when working on indoor HVAC systems.
Finally, reputable air duct cleaning services should also adhere to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines regarding duct cleaning.
Understanding the cleaning methods is crucial knowledge that allows a homeowner to monitor the work. Most services will begin with a visual inspection of the ducts, often using a video camera that extends into the ducts to survey their condition. Next, the technician will attach a large vacuum device from the truck to one of the ducts. The technician must seal each register in every room of the house to create the negative pressure required to suck dust out of the vents. After covering all registers, the technician will turn on the vacuum to create negative pressure throughout the ducts. They can now clean each duct by covering and uncovering each register one at a time. While the ducts will be the focus of the cleaning, a good duct cleaning service will also clean other parts of the HVAC system, including blower motors, evaporator coils, and drain pans. Finally, the technician should replace any filters with new ones.
In addition to duct cleaning, many duct cleaning companies offer other services that might interest a homeowner. Additional services duct cleaning companies offer include carpet cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, and HVAC repair. Some companies will bundle services, making them more affordable than purchasing each service individually.
Whether hiring a plumber, electrician, or air duct cleaning company, customer service is key to having a good experience. A company that offers good customer service should be willing to assess the condition of a home’s ductwork and provide a detailed estimate of the work before requiring a customer to commit to the service. A quality company will have customer service representatives available via phone, email, or online chat.
Our Top Picks
The list below includes three of the top air duct cleaning services in the nation. These services are NADCA certified and have a well-established reputation for quality service. We’ve also included one aggregation service that is an excellent tool for identifying quality local companies that provide air duct cleaning.
Why It Made the Cut: DUCTZ has been around for 20 years and specializes almost entirely in duct cleaning, making it a true expert in the field.
DUCTZ has been specializing in cleaning ductwork since 2002, and the company adheres to NADCA, ACCA, and EPA standards. The company is on the cutting edge of duct cleaning technology thanks to its use of high-powered HEPA vacuums to collect dust and dirt and UV-C light treatment to kill germs and mold and to eliminate VOCs. DUCTZ also rehabilitates old ductwork, covering and sealing holes and cracks to make HVAC systems more efficient. DUCTZ is only available in 22 states and select locations in Canada, but it’s a solid choice if there’s a branch in a homeowner’s area.
DUCTZ’s customer service is highly regarded. The company provides detailed quotes that break down the cost of its services after the in-home inspection, meaning homeowners are likely to get a fair and accurate quote. DUCTZ also offers related services, including dryer vent cleaning and even more comprehensive HVAC repair work. Technicians provide homeowners with before-and-after photos to guarantee the service’s thoroughness and quality. Appointment requests can be made online via the DUCTZ website or by calling a local office.
- Service area: 22 states and Canada
- Scheduling: Online or phone
- Certification: NADCA, ACCA
- Additional services: Dryer vent cleaning, indoor air quality
- Customer service: Email, phone
- UV-C light technology eliminates germs, mold, and VOCs
- Customers receive before-and-after photos
- Pricing quote given after in-home inspection
- Technicians adhere to NADCA, ACCA, and EPA standards
- Only available in 22 states in the U.S. and Canada
Why It Made the Cut: Stanley Steemer’s comprehensive cleaning services coupled with excellent customer service give it a high customer satisfaction rating.
Stanley Steemer is known for its carpet cleaning services, but it is also an accessible option for air duct cleaning, with over 280 locations in 49 states. Customers can book multiple services at once with the streamlined, user-friendly online scheduling system. This system also provides customers with an accurate quote. Stanley Steemer’s prices can be relatively high, but the company’s service and reputation instills a higher level of confidence in customers.
In addition to duct cleaning, Stanley Steemer offers carpet and upholstery cleaning, disinfection services, and tile and grout cleaning, all of which customers can conveniently book online. Stanley Steemer technicians receive thorough hands-on training and continuing education, so homeowners can feel confident in the service they receive.
- Service area: Nationwide and Canada
- Scheduling: Online or phone
- Certification: NADCA
- Additional services: Upholstery, tile, grout, stone, hardwood, carpet, area rug, and car cleaning
- Customer service: Email, phone
- User-friendly online quote and scheduling process
- Technicians receive thorough hands-on training and continuing education opportunities
- Over 280 locations in the U.S. in 49 states
- Prices can be relatively high
Why It Made the Cut: Few companies offer 24/7 service hours for ductwork cleaning, making SERVPRO the service of choice for emergency maintenance needs.
In the event of an emergency, it’s helpful to know a company with 24/7 availability. The company is oriented toward emergency damage restoration and cleanup, and SERVPRO’s customer support representatives and technicians are available all hours of the day and night. Homeowners will have to call their local branch to schedule an appointment. But with 1,900 locations in 50 states and Canada, there’s certain to be a SERVPRO franchise nearby.
SERVPRO cleans ducts thoroughly and sanitizes, disinfects, and deodorizes them to ensure any potentially hazardous materials, such as mold, are eliminated. The company can even assist with filing insurance claims.
- Service area: Nationwide and Canada
- Scheduling: Phone
- Certification: NADCA
- Additional services: Specialty and general cleaning, damage remediation
- Customer service: Phone
- Fast emergency response available for all services
- 1,900 locations across the U.S.
- Representatives assist customers with any insurance claims
- No online scheduling option
Why It Made the Cut: HomeAdvisor’s detailed reviews of local and national companies make it the best online resource for vetting the best dust cleaning services in a ZIP code.
HomeAdvisor is perhaps the best source for locating and vetting national and local duct cleaning services. There are two ways of searching for services using HomeAdvisor. The website provides a listing of duct cleaning companies that includes their contact information and a list of ratings and reviews. Ratings use a 5-star system and allow verified customers to write full reviews.
HomeAdvisor’s company profiles are comprehensive, but a customer will need to input their name, phone number, and email address to view this information. Profiles include areas of expertise, years in service, business hours, and contact information. HomeAdvisor even awards achievements to companies with high ratings. HomeAdvisor also allows homeowners to request quotes from local services through an engine on its website. In addition to its directory, HomeAdvisor also provides national and local cost estimates so customers can get a fair idea of how much they’ll need to pay.
- Service area: Nationwide
- Scheduling: Online
- Certification: Varies by professional
- Additional services: Varies by professional
- Customer service: Email, phone, live chat
- Potential clients can filter by project and choose from local professionals
- Website is streamlined and user-friendly
- Name, phone number, and email are required to browse local services
For its innovative, in-depth cleaning process and a quote process that gives the customer a full breakdown of the service and its cost, DUCTZ leads the way when it comes to air duct cleaning services. If DUCTZ isn’t available, Stanley Steemer is a close second with its comprehensive cleaning services that cover not only the ducts but also the HVAC equipment they attach to.
How We Chose the Best Air Duct Cleaning Services
We considered numerous important criteria in reviewing more than a dozen different air duct cleaning services for our list of the top services. There are a fair number of imposters when it comes to air duct cleaning services, so reputation is key. The services we chose have been in the business for 20 years or more. All the companies on our list have NADCA certification and a proven track record of providing quality duct cleaning. These services use best practices when cleaning ducts, including negative pressure technology and vacuum systems with HEPA filtration. Since ducts aren’t the only component in an HVAC system that can clog with dirt, we chose companies that also clean blowers, registers, heat components, cooling coils, and other integral HVAC parts.
Before You Use One of the Best Air Duct Cleaning Services
Before choosing a duct cleaner, determine if the service is needed at all. If an examination of the home’s ducts reveals no large deposits of dust, then there is probably no need to clean the ducts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It is normal for the return registers to collect dust as they draw in air and dust from the room. A dirty register can be cleaned with a standard vacuum. That said, if you do have family members with severe allergy symptoms or unexplained illness, it may make sense to have a closer inspection of the ducts by a professional service to determine if a cleaning is needed.
Cost of Using One of the Best Air Duct Cleaning Services
The cost of hiring a company to clean the air ducts in a home averages between $269 and $486. The amount of ductwork in the home and its accessibility coupled with the home’s location impacts the price. That cost can increase significantly for ducts that require mold removal or pest extermination. Pest extermination can add $150 to $500 to the cost, while mold and mildew removal can add $600 to $2,000.
The Advantages of Using One of the Best Air Duct Cleaning Services
When a quality air duct cleaning service does the job, there can be many benefits. Clean ducts can improve a home’s overall air quality by removing excess dust, pollen, mold, and mildew inside the ducts that would otherwise circulate into the air. Other advantages include:
- Eliminating foul odors that might be lingering inside the ducts.
- Preventing dirt and dust from potentially damaging the HVAC system.
- Improving the efficiency of a home’s HVAC system, reducing utility costs.
Whether you’re trying to determine when to have those ducts cleaned or how much you can expect to pay for it, then read on for answers to these and other commonly asked questions about this service.
Q. What is air duct cleaning?
Air duct cleaning refers to the removal of dust, dirt, mold, and allergens from an HVAC system’s ducts, grilles, registers, and other heating and cooling components such as cooling coils, heat exchangers, and drain pans.
Q. How much do air duct cleaning services charge?
Most air duct cleaning services charge between $269 and $486, with a national average of $373.
Q. When is the right time to clean my duct system?
The best time to clean your duct system is in either the spring or fall after you’ve stopped using the HVAC system to either heat or cool the home.
Q. How long does it take to clean air ducts?
A crew of two technicians can clean a home’s air ducts in about 2 to 4 hours, depending on the complexity of the job and the size of the house.
Q. Do I have to clean my ducts every year?
No. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends cleaning a home’s air ducts every 3 to 5 years.
Q. Can I clean my own duct system?
Cleaning a duct system is not a do-it-yourself job as it requires special tools that most people don’t have in their garage or workshop, including a high-powered vacuum and rotary brushes. Without these tools, it’s not possible to access the inside of the ducts or create the vacuum power needed to remove dust and dirt.