Let’s Be Careful Out There: HVAC Duct Cleaning Scams

The Truth About Air Conditioning Systems and HVAC Duct Cleaning Services

Here at Air-Tro, we believe in regular maintenance and upkeep for your heating and air conditioning systems. However, we’ve become aware of one kind of maintenance protocol that we’re advising our customers to steer clear of, especially outside of specific recommendations from our service technicians. Many locals we’ve talked to have been approached by unscrupulous vendors offering incredible deals for this complicated, often unnecessary service, either with a tempting flyer left in their mailbox or a call from a stranger.  Either way, these seemingly inexpensive duct cleaning services have left consumers not only feeling ripped off from unexpected and costly charges…but with lasting damage to their air conditioning systems.

Duct cleaning costly and ineffective
Duct cleaning scams cost consumers big money and is largely unnecessary

First, do you need your ductwork cleaned? It’s a complicated questions. Most of these suspicious advertising offers tout better air quality as a result of their low priced cleaning job. Once you agree, a representative will usually “inspect” your ducts and tell you you need far more expensive, elaborate maintenance, all of which can be conveniently done, of course, on the spot by the salesperson.


Duct Cleaning for Air Conditioning Systems Largely Useless, According to Respected Sources

Don’t fall for it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency and even the American Lung Association, there is no proof that cleaning air conditioning ducts leads to any health benefits. The agency also states that there is no evidence that air conditioning ducts lead to an increase in airborne particulates within the home. In fact, a 16 page report issued by the EPA stated “Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts or go down after cleaning. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space.”

Duct cleaning is only indicated when vermin contamination is suspected, or mold and any other debris is clearly visible. In that event, the ducts will need to be carefully inspected by two certified HVAC technicians using specialized equipment and possibly even a remote camera to document their work. This is an all day, intensive process that cannot be done with a brief spot check or by an unqualified expert. Only then will it be possible to determine what, if anything, needs to be done to remedy the problem.


Big Business, Little Value for Consumers

But duct cleaning for HVAC systems is big business. According to the Washington Post, consumers spend more than 4 billion dollars on duct cleaning a year in the United States. This is the same amount Americans spend on asbestos and lead abatement per year, and more than the total spent on actually fixing or the ultimate causes of mildew and mold within a home.

In other words, people are spending more money on ineffective, non-essential air conditioning “cleaning” than they are on solving the potential problems or faulty air conditioning systems. Clearly, this is a testament to great advertising…and a need for further educating the public.

Have HVAC questions? Call Us Instead.

Have questions? Need help determining what’s a problem and what isn’t when it comes to your HVAC system? Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of by companies just looking for another mark. Give us a call instead. We’ll provide you with honest, straightforward answers about your heating and air conditioning systems, and cost effective ways to save money on both over the long term.


Avoid expensive scams and useless fixes. We’ve been keeping California comfortable for more than forty years. Trust Air-Tro Heating and Air Conditioning to install and maintain cost effective, reliable heating and air conditioning systems for your home and business. Call us today at (626)357-3535 to schedule your consultation.