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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How often should you get your air ducts cleaned?

How often you should clean your air ducts depends on your situation. If you or someone in the home has asthma or is acutely allergic to certain airborne materials or pollen, regular duct cleaning may be helpful. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have an official position on the necessity of air duct cleaning unless the ducts have been contaminated by rodents, insects or mold, or you are aware of particles blowing out through the vents. The EPA recommends you have your air ducts cleaned on an as-needed basis. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) suggests having air ducts cleaned every three to five years.

Be cautious with companies that offer “whole house air duct cleaning,” urges the NADCA. The company may be using unscrupulous tactics to upsell you once they get started. Before any work begins, always clarify in writing what the job entails and what the cost will be. To protect yourself against fraud, read customer reviews and verify that your HVAC cleaning service has applicable licenses and certifications.

How long does it take to get your ducts cleaned?

The amount of time air duct cleaning takes can depend on how extensive your duct system is, how old your air ducts are, and whether they have ever been cleaned. On average, expect a standard size home (between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet) to take 2-5 hours for one to two technicians to clean. Here are the proper protocol and equipment you should expect from a professional duct cleaning service, as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency:

  • All doors and access ports opened to ensure the entire duct system is inspected and cleaned.
  • Thorough system inspection prior to cleaning to identify possible asbestos-containing materials. If asbestos is present, specially trained and equipped contractors must do the removal.
  • Use of approved vacuum equipment that exhausts particles outside of your house. If the vacuum exhausts inside your home, it must be HEPA equipment.
  • Furnishings and carpet covered and protected.
  • Soft-bristled brushes only on fiberglass duct board and sheet metal ducts internally lined with fiberglass.
  • Ductwork properly protected.
  • Adherence to guidelines and practices set down by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association.

How much does it cost to have someone clean your dryer vent?

The national average dryer vent cleaning costs range from $190 to $260. Dryer vent or duct cleaning costs can vary based on where you live in the country and what ductwork repairs may be required. Duct cleaning pros will use a brush cleaning method, a forced air vacuum, or a combination of the two to remove lint and other debris that can collect in your dryer duct, lint trap housing and vent. If left unchecked, this buildup of highly flammable debris can catch fire and lead to a home fire, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition to home safety, a great reason for regular cleaning is the money you’ll likely save on energy bills and improved indoor air quality. Pros may offer a lower rate on their dryer duct cleaning costs when you also hire them to clean your entire HVAC duct system. To ensure you’re working with a pro who will keep your home as safe as possible, read their reviews and check whether they have been certified by a reputable organization such as the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) or the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Many duct cleaning pros will also show you before-and-after photos as proof of the cleaning.

How much does it cost to replace air ducts in a house?

If your air ducts have been damaged, you’ll need to replace them. The national average air duct replacement cost is $150-$280, which may not include materials. Factors such as duct material, labor, location of ducts and linear feet of ductwork will all affect your final costs. Labor costs will vary based on how accessible the ducts are and what material your ducts are made of. The least expensive duct material is a flexible, non-metallic ducting that costs approximately $1-$2 per linear foot. Flexible aluminum is generally more expensive and stronger than non-metallic ducting. Stainless steel ducting is the strongest, the least flexible (meaning installing it typically has higher labor rates), and usually the most expensive. An average price for air duct replacement could range between $35 and $55 per linear foot, including basic materials and labor. A typical single-family home has 6-10 duct runs; replacing or installing one duct run could average $150-$250 for labor.

How much does it cost to have your air ducts cleaned?

If you’re concerned about dust, allergens or mold, it may be time to have your air ducts cleaned. The national average cost for air duct cleaning ranges from $190 to $250. Air duct cleaning costs will vary based on a number of factors such as your location in the country, the age and condition of your air ducts, the number of linear feet to be cleaned, and any repairs your ducts may need. HVAC cleaning companies should clearly outline what is included in their services and at what rate, so always make sure you understand and have a written agreement before work begins. Here are some examples of average air duct cleaning costs:

  • Tiered pricing for different levels of service:
    • Standard cleaning: $100, which may include truck-mounted industrial vacuums, high-pressure air wands and air snakes to clean all supply and return vents, branch lines, and main trunk lines.
    • Advanced cleaning: $200, which may include standard cleaning services, plus rotobrush or viper clean sweep in the main trunk lines.
    • Ultimate cleaning: $400, which may include advanced cleaning, plus insertion of a viper microline into all vents to force debris down the branch lines and into the main trunk lines, to be handled by the viper clean sweep. Typically, all ductwork surface is contacted, before-and-after photos are provided, and the furnace is cleaned.
  • A flat rate for unlimited vents: $289.
  • Additional fees for larger houses: $20 for each additional 500 square feet over 2,500.

How does duct cleaning work?

Here’s how duct cleaning works in a nutshell:

  • A professional duct cleaner will inspect your ducts.
  • They’ll use vacuums and brushes to clean up dust and debris.
  • And then they’ll seal and clean everything up. 

During the inspection process, the air duct cleaner will also look for cracks or leaks. Depending on what they find, they may also recommend repairs.

To learn more about the duct cleaning process for your home, reach out to cleaners near you.

What is duct cleaning?

Air duct cleaning is the process of cleaning your various heating and cooling system units, parts and components. This process often includes cleaning the following, according to the EPA:

  • supply and return air ducts and registers
  • grilles and diffuser
  • heat exchangers heating and cooling coils,
  • condensate drain pans (drip pans)
  • fan motor and fan housing
  • air handling unit housing

For a more specific list of tasks, ask duct cleaners near you what's included in their service.

Reviews for Ashburn duct and vent installers
Lindsay w.
Did a great job cleaning our dryer vents/ducts. Will be hiring again!!
Marcor technical service, INCMarcor technical service, INC
Thumbtack Customer
Needed to have our vents cleaned to get rid of a bad odor emanating from the ducts/vents. After cleaning and finding out the smell was actually coming from the ducts themselves (they were very old, discolored, had mold, outdated fiberglass style ducts). This happens to ducts like this over time and replacement was the only option. Bruce really worked with us and did a great job. His pricing was very fair and he really was considerate since we already payed to have the ducts cleaned and then realized more work would be necessary. He is a hard worker and really cares about the job he is doing and making sure his clients are happy, as well as very communicative throughout the entire process. We can confidently recommend him. He is also a very positive and optimistic person and really just a cool guy to be around.
Florida CertifiedFlorida Certified
Thumbtack Customer
Bruce did a fantastic job! He was on time, professional, and provided a clean service. My son who is 10 asked if he could come all the time because the house smelled like bubble gum when he left. I would recommend him to anyone who needs vent and duct cleaning!
Florida CertifiedFlorida Certified
Thumbtack Customer
Giving the job 4 stars. Ony because it seems like something was missing. They came early. The main technician confirmed I have no air ducts. Meaning there is only sheet rock or whatever it is. There is no silver metal or aluminum shiny stuff lining the vents. Asked me if I wanted them cleaned any way. They took vent covers off and cleaned with water and some solution. And they used this canister vaccuum type thing to clean vents. Somehow, it seemed like it wasn't very strong. But that could be an illusion. I pictured one of these huge things that would also have an attachment that would cover the whole entire opening. That's what I pictured from the description. But the guy said that is a heapa ion vaccuum and that is for bigger jobs. I thought from the online description they would clean the air handler too. But he said that is $200 more. It turns out too, when I looked at the vents they didn't seem that dirty. My many year cough must be coming from somewhere else. Maybe I need to get a better air purifier .The guy did put some purifier in the air handler to circulate. FOR $150 it did seem like something was missing. If there is a next time, I will probably use one if the cheaper quotes on Thumbtack. Seems like they don't do much anyway. I'm not saying they didn't do their job, it just seems like something was missing. The guys were polite and thorough in what they did.
Absolute EnvironmentalAbsolute Environmental
Jay H.
The gentleman who cleaned the ducts on February 2nd was nice enough, but the punctuality was abysmal. I was told they would be there between 1pm-1:30pm. He didn’t arrive until after 3pm. Once there, he told me other services I need, which initially I was interested in. He then said that job would take longer so he wanted to go do a quick 30 minute job and he’d be back to complete my work, I agreed. He didn’t return until nearly 7pm and that was after an hour earlier I said let’s just reschedule because it was getting so late. He said he was 5 minutes away, which turned into nearly an hour. Once he was there I was no longer interested in any service that was going to extend my time. He did an ok job of cleaning the ducts, because they were extremely nasty from the previous tenant(s). The vents were painted onto the ceiling(not his fault), but they were not really taking down cleanly and looked pretty bad when put back up. I also felt like after I said I was no longer interested in the additional services, the job wasn’t done as good as can be.
Marcor technical service, INCMarcor technical service, INC
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