Angie's List: Air duct cleaning: worth it or a waste?

Angie's List

We're now in peak allergy season when many of us are sneezing, sniffing, and downing allergy pills.    

But what about a cleaning of the air ducts in your home?

Would that help your allergies, or be a waste of your money?

Lots of dust?  It might help

Adam Ketterman says he suffered from a nagging, dry cough after some drywall work created a lot of dust in his home.

So he hired an air duct cleaner, and says his symptoms improved.

Ketterman explained "I did feel a lot better physically right after the duct cleaning like within two to three days. I noticed it was like flipping a switch, so I was kind of excited about that."

But our partners at the consumer guide Angie's List say there is no scientific evidence that regular duct cleaning improves air quality.

So you may not need it.

Not sure if your ducts are dirty? Angie's List says inspect your registers for dust build up.  Even better: take off the screws and look inside them.

Dave Adams, an air duct cleaning company owner says, "one of the easiest ways to find out is to take the vent cover off, stick a camera phone down there and take a picture with the flash on. You are going to be able to see down the duct, and you'll know if it is dusty.

Do Your Homework

Angie's List says do your research when hiring a contractor.
Check any potential company at Yelp, Angie's List (if you are  paid member), or the Better Business Bureau for complaints. Make sure they have a decent BBB rating.

And beware of bait-and-switch ads that advertise an unbelievably low rate, like $59 for a whole house.

Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, said "it's important for consumers to get written in-home estimates because a lot of times air duct cleaning is based on either the square footage of the home or the number of vents."

"A typical air duct cleaning might cost anywhere from $300-$500. If you find you're being offered a really low price, you're going to want to question it," she said.

The Bottom Line

Bottom line:  Angie's List says duct cleaning can be helpful if, and it's a big if, you have dusty ductwork.

But before you shell out $300, find out if you really need it.

As always, don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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