The average cost of air duct cleaning is $377, but it can range from $268 to $490, depending on various factors. These factors generally include the duct type, size, number of vents, the labor involved, and geographical location.
One of the most effective ways by which you can improve indoor air quality is air duct cleaning.
These ducts prevent impurities from entering your home, ensuring proper air circulation. But with time, they can get clogged up with dirt and debris, affecting their functioning. In such cases, you will need to get them professionally cleaned.
And this guide will let you know how much air duct cleaning costs.
Why Do Air Ducts Require Cleaning?
Most modern homes rely on an air duct system, which is a network of air ducts connecting to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These ducts work with the air handler to allow the passage of air to heat up or cool down the room as required while filtering impurities like dust and dirt.
But over time, these dirt and dust particles can adhere to the sides of the ducts, restricting the airflow. This can lead to problems like mold growth, which is why getting your air ducts cleaned regularly is essential to prevent dirt buildup.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, air duct cleaning should be undertaken when there is visible mold growth in various areas of the heating and cooling system. Such cleaning also becomes crucial if there are signs of a rodent, like a mouse or an insect infestation, or if the ducts have become clogged.
Similarly, they may need to be cleaned if the ducts release the particulates in an area where people can inhale them. Cleaning them during a home improvement project can also help eliminate house dust mites and harmful bacteria. As for the actual air duct cleaning cost, this depends on various factors, like ductwork size and the number of vents, which I’ve discussed below.
Factors That Affect Air Duct Cleaning Cost
1. Ductwork Size
The cost of air duct cleaning depends upon the size of the ductwork, which can be determined by the layout of your home. Houses with a larger ductwork size require more cleaning, resulting in a higher cost. That is why some air duct cleaning services charge according to the size of the property. The cost of cleaning air ducts per square foot ranges from $0.14 to $0.25.
Alternatively, the air duct cleaning service can charge by the vent. These vents connect different rooms to the HVAC system, and the charges can range between $25 and $50 per vent. To get an idea about the air duct cleaning cost, you can count the number of vents and multiply them by $35.
Thus, for a 1500-square-foot house, the cost of air duct cleaning can range between $225 and $375. Some cleaning services also base their prices on the system, where the average cost is from $200 to $1000.
2. Number Of Vents
Another factor that affects air duct cleaning prices is the number of vents that make up the air duct system. Generally, the cost of cleaning a system with more vents will be higher, and it can lie between $25 and $50.
However, different air duct cleaning professionals use different pricing methodologies. An air duct cleaning company can charge a flat rate with extra vents, a trip fee for overhead costs, and additional charges for additional vents.
3. Ductwork Type
Different types of ducts require different cleaning methods and tools. For instance, fiberglass and foam board ducts require power brushing, air washing, or vacuuming. In contrast, flex ducts require specialized equipment, so I would recommend speaking with a professional air duct cleaner beforehand.
Also, due to its more complicated nature, you may not find many air duct cleaning professionals offering flex duct cleaning services. On the other hand, rigid duct cleaning is easier, and most companies offer such services.
The size and layout of your home will determine how accessible the air duct system is. Some homes provide access to the system through entry points in the utility room, attic, or basement. But if such access points are not present and getting to the system is difficult, the air duct cleaning cost can rise.
That being said, the price will often depend upon the air duct cleaning service, project scope, and location.
5. Labor Costs
Many air duct cleaning companies charge by the number of vents or the square footage while also considering factors like the air duct type and accessibility. Generally, it takes around three to eight hours of labor to get your air ducts cleaned.
6. Geographical Location
The location will affect the air duct cleaning cost since cleaning services in different areas charge different prices. For instance, cleaners in New York charge between $268 and $488, while those in New Hampshire charge between $312 and $538.
Similarly, those in California charge between $222 and $452, while those in Florida charge between $258 and $518, and the charges in Michigan range from $290 to $429. In Texas, air duct cleaning can cost between $263 and $712.
Costs Of Additional Services
Besides the cost of cleaning the air ducts, you may also need to pay professional cleaners for other services. These can include:
Getting your air ducts inspected by professionals can help you know about the level of contamination. Generally, a video inspection can cost between $75 and $125, or it can be bundled with an annual inspection of the HVAC system.
A video camera inspection can help provide the cleaners with information about debris, damage, pests, dust buildup, insulation problems, mold, etc. I strongly recommend getting your air ducts inspected at least once a year.
2. Removal Of Pests
Rodents like rats and other pests can enter your air vents and the ductwork by chewing through the material. Besides damaging the system, they leave behind droppings, which can lead to respiratory disease.
If there is a rodent or insect infestation in the air duct system, pest control services will need to be hired. Removing vermin like a rat or other pests can cost between $150 and $500 and will add to the total cost of the cleaning.
3. Removing Mildew And Mold
Over time, mold and mildew can gather in the air ducts, especially if your home has suffered water damage or is located in a humid environment. Apart from being unpleasant to look at, mold spores can pose health risks. Mold spores are an allergen and can act just like pollen, which is why they should be removed as soon as possible.
Removing mildew and mold requires special equipment, chemicals, and considerable time. And mold and mildew remediation can cost between $600 and $2000. Air duct sanitizing may also be required, in which an antibacterial disinfectant is sprayed into the ductwork to prevent bacteria, mildew, and mold growth.
4. Removal Of Asbestos
Asbestos, a manufacturing material used in the construction of building materials, is an incredibly dangerous chemical substance known to cause air pollution and requires quick removal. Air duct cleaning services generally determine the presence of this hazardous material by inspecting the HVAC system.
Like mold, asbestos removal requires specialized cleaning procedures, which should only be performed by professionals. Any air duct cleaning process cannot be undertaken until asbestos abatement is complete. The cost of this removal can range from $5 to $20 per square foot.
5. Cleaning The Dryer Vent
The clothes dryer vent is among the most heavily used components, and it can get clogged with dust and gunk. Clogged vents can reduce the energy efficiency of your home and may also pose a fire hazard. In fact, many house fires are often caused due to dryer vents that have become clogged.
Dryer vent cleaning can cost between $100 and $170 when performed as a standalone service, but it can also be bundled with the annual air duct cleaning.
6. Cleaning Of Custom Air Ducts
If your home utilizes custom air ducts, the charges for cleaning it will be about 25 to 30 percent higher than for cleaning standard ones. The reason is that air duct cleaners require more time on such projects and often need to use specialized tools and techniques.
7. Coating Of Air Ducts
Air duct coating can help prevent the entry of dirt, dust, and other particulate matter into your home, ensuring your home’s air quality remains good. The process involves the application of a protective sealant onto the inner surfaces of the air ducts, which helps keep the air ducts clean.
However, tests conducted by the EPA show that the sealant fails to cover the duct surface completely and can adversely affect the fire-retardant and acoustic properties of fiberglass ducts. In some cases, applying such a coating may also void the manufacturer’s warranty. But for those who require such coating on their air ducts, the cost ranges from $180 to $625.
8. AC Or Furnace Repairs
If the air duct cleaning professional detects some damage to your AC or furnace, it may need to be repaired before the dirty air ducts can be cleaned. Timely repairs help you save money and can improve the temperature regulation properties of the air conditioner.
The cost of furnace repairs or tune-ups can range from $130 to $500, while AC repairs can cost between $160 and $500.
Air Duct Cleaning – Difference In Costs
Residential Vs. Commercial Cleaning
Air duct cleaning costs I’ve mentioned so far can help you get an idea of the charges in the case of a residential structure. For commercial buildings, the charges for air duct cleaning will be significantly higher because they are generally much larger than residential ones.
If you require air duct cleaning at your office or other commercial workplaces, it can cost between $30 and $50 per hour.
Cleaning Yourself Vs Hiring Air Duct Cleaners
You can clean air ducts using do-it-yourself methods, but these will require a good knowledge of the HVAC ducts and the right cleaning supplies. The most important among these will be a vacuum and a ladder, which can range from $100 to $400.
Additionally, the air duct cleaning process will require a power drill, an extension hose, and a vent cleaning brush with an extendable handle, which can all be a bit pricey. Other items, like rags, masks, a bristle brush, and goggles, will cost between $10 and $30.
That said when compared to the cost of hiring an air duct cleaning company, undertaking the duct cleaning project yourself will be more cost-effective. But I would still suggest hiring professionals for air duct cleaning since they already have the required tools, proper training, and years of experience.
Additionally, in the case of custom options, you may not have an idea about how to get the air ducts cleaned by yourself.
When hiring professional air duct cleaners, it is a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau page and customer reviews. Get quotes from at least three companies and avoid hiring one that charges significantly less than the competition.
Also, I would recommend looking for companies that comply with National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) cleaning standards.
Saving Money On Air Duct Cleaning
Hiring a professional air duct cleaning service is a better choice, though it can be costly. Fortunately, there are a few ways by which you can save on air duct cleaning costs, which I’ve mentioned here.
1. Proper Maintenance Of The Air Conditioning And Heating System
The best way to reduce your air duct cleaning cost is to ensure proper air conditioning and heating systems maintenance. Regular maintenance will keep the system functioning optimally, improving indoor air quality and ensuring efficient energy use. And it will reduce the amount of debris and dust entering the ducts, keeping them relatively clean.
2. Timely Changing Of The Air Filter
All HVAC systems need their air filters to be changed at specific intervals, and this period depends on the type of filter. I would recommend consulting the manufacturer of your air filter to know how frequently the filter should be changed. Generally, this can vary between 30, 60, and 90 days.
High-quality filters, like HEPA ones, last longer, but if you notice clogged filters, consider changing them more frequently. Similarly, change the filter of your air purifier timely.
3. Regular Vacuuming
Vacuuming around the various vent grills, duct openings, furnaces, and registers can go a long way in preventing dust accumulation. And when using a vacuum cleaner, make sure to use a compatible filter bag that has the highest rating.
4. Preventing The Entry Of Moisture
If water damage or leaks are detected in your home, dealing with them quickly is vital. Doing so can help avoid the growth of mold and mildew, so you won’t have to spend money on mold remediation. Also, check that the air ducts are properly insulated and sealed
5. Regular Cleaning Of AC Coils
Keeping the air conditioner evaporator coils clean will keep the heat exchanger free of dirt and allow it to function efficiently. This will result in reduced energy consumption and lower air duct cleaning costs.
Types Of Air Ducts
As I mentioned, the type of air ducts in your home will play a major role in determining air duct cleaning costs. Here are the most common types of air ducts found in homes:
1. Flex Ducts
These are flexible ducts similar to dryer vents and can be installed around tight corners and plumbing more easily than regular ducts. While it is possible to clean such ducts, the process requires greater care since these can get damaged easily, even with little pressure.
2. Rigid Ducts
Rigid ducts are the most common type and are prone to indoor mold and moisture accumulation. Installing rigid ductwork is costlier than flex ones, but it is sturdier and does not get damaged as easily while cleaning.
3. Fiberglass Ducts
Fiberglass ductwork is usually more common in commercial buildings since it can provide better noise reduction and insulation. But such ducts can break down, adversely affecting the air quality and posing a health risk. Professionals can be hired to power brush or vacuum them regularly to prevent such problems.
Air Ducts Cleaning Related FAQs
According to experts, getting your air ducts cleaned once every two to three years is a good idea. Doing so can prevent a lot of maintenance problems and help avoid a range of health issues. However, if you have children or pets at home, it is better to get the ducts cleaned more frequently.
In most cases, it can be pretty easy to determine that your air ducts require cleaning. Signs such as mold growth, the presence of vermin and pests like rats, poor airflow, and higher power bills can all indicate that the ducts require cleaning.
The time taken to get your air ducts cleaned properly depends on factors such as the size of your home and the ductwork layout. Generally, it will take about three to five hours to get the ducts cleaned in the case of an average-sized home. But larger homes with more extensive networks will require more time.
Ideally, spring is the best time to undertake an air duct cleaning project. The reason for that is that the weather starts becoming warmer, so it is easier to inspect the ductwork. Also, the amount of moisture in the air increases, which can lead to mold growth. Additionally, insects and rodents that may have taken refuge in the ductwork during the winter can be removed more easily.
Duct cleaning is not a very noisy process, and you won’t experience too much disturbance. In most cases, the sound produced will be similar to that of a vacuum cleaner. However, your heating and cooling unit will need to be turned off, which can actually make the room quieter.
Depending on the factors I’ve mentioned in this guide, the cost of air duct cleaning can vary considerably in different regions of the United States. That said, you will need to shell out a considerable amount if the ductwork hasn’t been cleaned in a long time.
This is the reason why regular maintenance is crucial and can help reduce the overall cost. And when it comes to selecting the right service for the job, make sure to check the website and go through the FAQ section. If you have a question regarding any aspect, contact the company to clear them up.
Doing so will help you avoid air duct cleaning scams and ensure a good experience.