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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > September 2011 > Air duct cleaning: hype vs. science

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Air duct cleaning: hype vs. science


Advertisements for air duct cleaning may emphasize the health risks posed by dirty or moldy ducts in your home, but knowledge about the health benefits of duct cleaning is limited.

Additionally, air duct cleaning services may advertise a low price, but then charge you a much higher amount once a representative is in your home performing the work.

For example, a duct cleaning service may send fliers advertising $49 duct cleaning and explaining that duct cleaning is an important part of keeping a home safe and clean. Once in the consumer’s home, the representative cuts a hole in the duct and “discovers” that the consumer has a serious mold problem, which will cost $2,000 to properly remove. Because the representative is in the home, the consumer feels pressured to agree to the higher price.

To protect yourself and your family:

  • Be skeptical of claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning. These claims may be unsubstantiated by scientific and medical communities.
  • Research companies and get written estimates from several businesses before paying a duct cleaning service.
  • Ask for references. Check with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau for any complaints filed against the business.
  • Be aware that Ohio does not require air duct cleaners to hold special licenses.
  • If a company claims that mold has been found, do a visual inspection yourself. Unless a substantial amount of mold is visible, cleaning may be unnecessary.
  • Contact a microbiology lab to confirm the presence of mold in your air ducts. Don’t rely solely on the in-home test the air duct cleaner may conduct.

Check with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for guidelines on having your air ducts cleaned.




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