Duct Cleaning Scams Alert!

Avoid Duct Cleaning Scams! The EPA and The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) define the term “duct cleaning” or “HVAC system cleaning” as cleaning the entire system. “The entire system” is the A/C or furnace unit, main trunk lines that connect to that unit, and all branch runs from the main trunk. NADCA defines the “system to be cleaned” as any internal surface which air moves across. Therefore, any company you contract with must be able to prove their method of cleaning complies with the EPA and NADCA guidelines.

Based upon our survey of over 20 former employees of several companies offering duct cleaning services starting under $10 a vent, most said that the customers felt that if the registers were cleaned and some sort of specialized duct cleaning machine was used, the job was performed properly. But when questioned further, not one former employee could make the claim that the entire air conditioning system was cleaned and most admitted that they personally felt they had taken advantage of the customer because they knew dirt and debris remained in the system after cleaning.

Uncovered Facts

Listed below are some other facts that were uncovered during our survey of these companies’ former employees:

  • None of the companies offer a product that allows comparison to a full duct cleaning job. Main duct work trunk lines are not included in their initial price for cleaning. When the system unit is included, it is unclear as to what will be cleaned. Various companies will do portions of your system unit to be able to say it has been cleaned and increase the perceived value.
  • All technicians had to ups ell the customer after beginning the job since a large part of their salary was based on commissions. The company pays up to 40% commissions on any additional work or products sold after the job begins.
  • After extensive testing and analysis at our residential duct cleaning training center, the equipment commonly used by low price competitors has been found to be ineffective after the first 10 feet of duct work. Therefore, if you want more than 10 feet of your duct work cleaned, you must select a different method of cleaning.
  • The equipment was also proven ineffective on round, flexible or metal duct greater than 12 in diameter.
  • The technicians were aware that the specialized equipment they were given was not capable of cleaning square fiberglass duct work. During our test of this equipment, duct board fiberglass duct systems were damaged during the cleaning process, which would allow fiberglass particles to enter the living environment after the system was re-energized. On any square or rectangular duct, a round brushing system is ineffective in the corners of the duct work, leaving debris behind.
  • After hiring several of these employees, and assessing their cleaning techniques, the results indicated that little to no training had been given to them to indicate what level of cleanliness should be achieved. Many of them had never been told that the entire system should be cleaned.
  • The employees of these companies honestly feel they are performing the work correctly because they have been given no other information.
  • Four employees who were hired and sent for retraining quit within one month of learning the accepted standard of cleaning. During their exit survey, almost all cited that the accepted standard for cleaning was too much work compared to the way that they were doing it at the previous company.
  • Low-cost companies are very rarely based in the town they have the phone numbers listed for. Some are out of the county and quite a few reside in another state completely.
  • Special emphasis is given to the theatrics of the job and much attention is paid to things that only you, the customer, will see. Being that 90% of the heating/cooling system and duct work is hidden from your view, the main focus is to clean only what you are aware of.
  • Of the employees surveyed, only 10% had any formal training in the HVAC industry. Most responded that the customer was told to contact another company when their cooling unit or furnace failed to restart after the cleaning process. Many times this would leave the customer without air conditioning or heat.


This page has been dedicated to helping educate our customer base. However, we recommend reading this page only if you want your entire duct system cleaned. If you already know that you would be satisfied with a partial duct cleaning at a lower price, this information does not pertain to you.