What Is The Average Cost For Air Duct Cleaning?

ByMarc Silberberg


The summer time is just around the corner and HVAC technicians are in high demand. Homeowners are scrambling to make sure that their homes are getting cooled properly and ready to handle the New Jersey summer heat. The temperature in Newark, NJ can range anywhere from 76°F to 94°F and residents and businesses need to have a reliable HVAC system to handle the heat.

Surprisingly, not that many people know that the HVAC equipment is only half of the story. I had a friend who installed a brand new heating and cooling system just last year and the house is still not getting cool. Getting a technician to come down and diagnose the issue is very difficult as they are swamped with house calls as the seasonal heat intensifies. On top of that, we are still feeling the effects of worker shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other half of the story is the home’s ductwork and venting. Having a brand new air handler and condenser is great but the proper flow is critical to the cooling system’s performance. 

Over the course of time, the ductwork can get dirty and damaged, which hampers the flow of cool air throughout the home. That’s where getting a home or commercial facilities air ducts cleaned can help. Air duct cleaning can improve your system’s performance by removing any unwanted elements that can prevent the proper flow of air throughout the ductwork. At the same time, HVAC duct cleaning will improve the quality of air in your home by removing dust, dirt, and pet hair from being blown back into the living area. 

How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost?

I am just like you, before I even think of calling an air duct cleaning specialist I want to have an idea how much it’s gonna cost. The problem is that each living space is different and that will determine your cost. Some homes are larger with the vents easily accessible while other homes are smaller and it will take more time to maneuver the air duct cleaning tools in and out of the duct work. The more descriptive you are to the air duct cleaning company the more accurate the estimate. It’s very rare that an honest air duct cleaning professional will quote a specific price over the phone. Usually they would like to come down and check it out before pricing it out. If you do get a crazy low price like $99, chances are it’s another air duct cleaning scam and your ducts will likely not receive the proper cleaning. Even worse is that they are most likely not certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association and might damage your ductwork which could result in an expensive repair. 

When Should You Consider Having Your Air Ducts Cleaned?

There are differences of opinions on how often one should clean their air ducts. One can check their air vents for signs of a buildup of dust and mold to decide for themselves whether or not to get them cleaned. Take a look at the vents around your home and make sure that they are free from a film of dust. If there happens to be dust on the vents it may be a signal that there is dust  in your ductwork as well. 

Moving Into a New Home Where a Smoker Lived

There are other times when you might want to consider having your ducts cleaned by a licensed professional. Someone reached out to an air duct cleaning company who is closing on a home in Boonton Township, NJ. The previous owner was known to be a chain smoker and when walking through the home there was a stench of smoke. However, due to the recent pandemic home buyers are desperate to get out of the city and will make sacrifices for a nice house in a good location. In this case, the new owners would remove all carpet, paint the walls, and do a deep floor cleaning. This new homeowner acknowledged the fact that chances are the air ducts also had been affected by the smoke and requested an air duct cleaning. It was smart to do so being that they already had spent so much money on the carpets, walls, and flooring. 

Moving Into a New Home Where Pets Lived

Just for the record, HVAC air duct cleaners have nothing against pets. As a matter of fact many of them are pet owners themselves and take pride in owning a cat or dog. However, there are some new homeowners that do not own pets and have no idea what harm they could do to a home’s air ducts. When a pet’s fur sheds it can be pulled into the air blower and continue to circulate along with conditioned air. More often than not it should get caught in the air blowers air filter but not always is that the case. On top of that, there are the accidents that happen occasionally throughout the living area that become part of the home. When purchasing a home where a pet once lived it would be recommended to get the air ducts cleaned to get rid of all pet hair that accumulated there over the course of time. 

Construction Dust & Debris From a Recent Home Renovation

Every home renovation comes with a bit of a mess depending on how neat the contractor is. Though there are multiple types of construction dust from cutting concrete to steel, the most common one in a home renovation is from wood and sheetrock. The constructor will make most of their cuts outside the home depending on the weather but more often than not there is still construction dust that gets brought into the living area. Saw dust can then get into your ducts and vents by simply falling in or being sucked into the HVAC system. Regardless of how it gets there, one should have their air ducts cleaned after a home renovation. The last thing you want is to enjoy your new living space only to be conditioned with a stench of saw dust. Besides the inconvenience, people’s health can be affected due to the harmful chemicals that were used to treat the wood. Typically, wood is an organic product and should have little impact on a human’s respiratory system. It’s only after the wood gets treated for waterproofing and strength that the dust can negatively impact a person’s respiratory health. 

Previous Air Duct Cleaning Job Gone Bad

Many homeowners will get excited when they see an advertisement for low cost air duct cleaning only to realize that the equipment used was a basic ShopVac. Other times homeowners will try to do the air duct cleaning themselves only to loosen the debris from within the venting and have it blown back into the living area. Whatever it was, people living in the home will begin to notice the air problem  especially if they have asthma or allergies. At this point a licensed air duct cleaning professional should come down and assess the damage done. Since the living space already has dust in it you are going to need to make sure that there was no dust or mold leftover in the ducts and vents. Once the technician has cleared the air ducts from any debris, dust, dirt, or mold, the living space needs to be thoroughly cleaned and aired out. The objective of having a professional duct cleaning company do the job is for the prevention of the unwanted particles escaping the duct and being blown into a waste bag or at least outside the home. Someone who has little to no experience will neglect to seal the vents properly allowing the dust to escape back into the living area. Keep in mind that even the smallest air leak can result in dust spreading throughout the home.

My Home Has 8 Vents, How Much Would It Cost?

People think that getting a price on duct cleaning is like searching for a flight to your next vacation but that’s not the case. Each home’s ductwork comes with its own set of challenges which needs to be discussed with the air duct cleaning company. What’s important is to tell them the home’s square footage, if there’s dust in the air, and why you think an air duct cleaning needs to be done. The more information you provide the better the chance that the specialists will provide you with an estimate. Keep in mind that it’s only an estimate and it may need to be adjusted before a final price is given on site. If you’re not happy with the price you have every right to deny the service.

Final Words

Summertime is fun for all as long as you have a cool home to retreat into. Making sure your HVAC system is running correctly also depends on how efficiently your ductwork is spreading the cool air throughout the living space. If you suspect that your ducts may need to be cleaned, reach out to a reputable duct cleaning company and provide them with the most information possible in order to get you an on target estimate. Always keep in mind that quoting a price might be difficult until the property is seen, which is why it can be so hard to get an accurate quote price. Just like each individual has his or her personality so do the ducts in each home.

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