Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

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matonplayer
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Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by matonplayer » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:29 am

Just received a quote for air duct cleaning from a supposedly reliable service provider - does this seem reasonable?

$550 per HVAC unit X 2 units - $1100
Clean blower motor and assembly X2 - $150
Clean evaporator coil X2 - $150

Total $1400.

We recently had major renovations done to our house - lots of drywall dust - so I believe that a cleaning is probably a good idea.

edge
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by edge » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:31 am

Seems high to me but TBH I've never done that before. It is not clear to me why they would charge 550$ per HVAC unit. I thought they were cleaning ducts...

JoinToday
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by JoinToday » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:09 pm

Why do you get your ducts cleaned? Seems like a money making scam to me. Kind of like replacing your muffler bearings or getting them greased every few years.

I hate to expose my ignorance (or lack of cleanliness), but I have never had my ducts cleaned in 30 years. I would worry that a duct connection would come loose in the cleaning process, and then all the hot air would blow into the attic. Note: Probably worth cleaning your evaporator coils, especially if you have dogs or cats. My heater fan still looks good. 20 years old, but we don't need to run it all the time.

If there is dirt or dust in the ducts that is coming loose, it will come out the first day of the season when you turn on the heater (or AC). If it is stuck in there & isn't coming out.... well, it isn't coming out, don't worry about it.

I would rather spend that money on a whole house air cleaner or a few portable air cleaners & run them for as needed/desired.
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greg24
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by greg24 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:11 pm

The only way to know for sure is to get a couple more estimates.

Liberty1100
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by Liberty1100 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:19 pm

JoinToday wrote:Why do you get your ducts cleaned? Seems like a money making scam to me.
I think that's exactly what the cleaners are trying to do, make money. They aren't going to do it for free.

Cleaning of force air ducts are definitely a thing to do every couple of years. It depends on how dusty your lifestyle is. If you have cats and dogs, I would do it more often than others. If you don't and it is just you and your significant other, just every couple of years.

Angie's List supplies a nice article of when you should get it cleaned (after remodeling), and how often (every 3- 5 years). http://www.angieslist.com/articles/how- ... -ducts.htm

BackOfTheNet
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by BackOfTheNet » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:21 pm

$550 is insane to clean an HVAC unit. Just open it up and vacuum and run some water over the coils. It's not even an hour job. Lots of how-to videos on youtube.

tomd37
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by tomd37 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:42 pm

Matonplayer,
The cleaning of the evaporator coil is part of my annual servicing of my two a/c units in spring; one in the attic serving the second floor and the other outside servicing the first floor. The same applies to the blower motor assembly in each unit. I have been present when the work is done spring and fall and they actually do the work. I pay $169 per year for servicing two units twice a year (spring and fall).

As to the ductwork cleaning I don't see where that is necessary and probably might do more harm than good to the ductwork depending on whether it is the rigid or flexible type ductwork. Others have mentioned some of the reasons for issues in this area.

I too went through a major renovation four years ago which include a tremendous amount of dust from new sheetrock and from sanding and refinishing floors throughout the first floor (second floor is carpeted). The best suggestion I can offer there is to use good quality (e.g. 3-M Filtrete) filters and change them at least monthly for about six to nine months. The first month back in the home I ended up changing them about every ten days.
Tom D.

new2bogle
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by new2bogle » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:44 pm

greg24 wrote:The only way to know for sure is to get a couple more estimates.
I love this response!

JustMe
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by JustMe » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:00 pm

matonplayer wrote:We recently had major renovations done to our house - lots of drywall dust - so I believe that a cleaning is probably a good idea.
I don't know about pricing, but after reading the EPA information here we decided not to get our ducts cleaned.
http://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-i ... me-cleaned

Cleaning the blower motor and assembly and evaporator coil periodically is probably a good idea but I'd have those done by an HVAC company since they will generally check on other items at the same time.

JohnFiscal
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by JohnFiscal » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:27 pm

JustMe wrote:
I don't know about pricing, but after reading the EPA information here we decided not to get our ducts cleaned.
http://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-i ... me-cleaned
I just found this as well http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/sr/dohs/Docum ... eaning.pdf

We had ducts "cleaned" in one house at the behest of my spouse. I researched it at the time and the opinions were that it's generally an unnecessary scam. But...there are exceptions, like your extreme sheet rock dust. But then most of that dust should have been trapped by the filters ahead of the blower.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:44 pm

DW wanted to get ours done so I got in touch with a friend who is an HVAC engineer. He asked one question. Do you have a filter? I said yes. He said, then you don't need the ducts cleaned.

Dirt and cat fur and drywall dust go into the returns, hit the filter and stay there. What happens if the filter gets clogged? It actually does an even better job cleaning and starts restricting airflow.

If you think your feed lines are dirty, get a borescope and look for yourself.
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Rupert
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by Rupert » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:50 pm

matonplayer wrote:Just received a quote for air duct cleaning from a supposedly reliable service provider - does this seem reasonable?

$550 per HVAC unit X 2 units - $1100
Clean blower motor and assembly X2 - $150
Clean evaporator coil X2 - $150

Total $1400.

We recently had major renovations done to our house - lots of drywall dust - so I believe that a cleaning is probably a good idea.
Just fyi: I just had my entire trunk line replaced and branch lines re-insulated and sealed for not much more than the quote you received just for cleaning. As for the HVAC units, you should let your normal HVAC serviceman clean those. I pay about $75 for that service twice per year, i.e., service twice, $75 each time.

Drywall dust after a renovation is a good reason to have the ducts cleaned. Having severe allergies is another good reason to have them cleaned periodically.

Fallible
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by Fallible » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:10 pm

matonplayer wrote:Just received a quote for air duct cleaning from a supposedly reliable service provider - does this seem reasonable?

$550 per HVAC unit X 2 units - $1100
Clean blower motor and assembly X2 - $150
Clean evaporator coil X2 - $150

Total $1400.

We recently had major renovations done to our house - lots of drywall dust - so I believe that a cleaning is probably a good idea.
Good to know about duct cleaning from "Consumer Reports" on possible scams and the need for cleaning in general: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news ... /index.htm
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adamthesmythe
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:33 pm

Never had it done it myself, although I do change the filter on the air return regularly.

matonplayer
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by matonplayer » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:37 pm

OP here. Thanks for all of the great advice. If it were up to me I'd forego the cleaning but DW is wanting it done. :)

livesoft
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by livesoft » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:39 pm

I suspect you are marked as a "whale" possibly along with everyone in your ZIP code, so you are quoted higher prices than if you were located in a less wealthy neighborhood. Multiple quotes may help somewhat. Also, if your wife would be satisfied with a placebo, then I am sure you can arrange that, too.
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matonplayer
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by matonplayer » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:26 pm

livesoft wrote:I suspect you are marked as a "whale" possibly along with everyone in your ZIP code, so you are quoted higher prices than if you were located in a less wealthy neighborhood. Multiple quotes may help somewhat. Also, if your wife would be satisfied with a placebo, then I am sure you can arrange that, too.
I'll have to remember the placebo idea. :). I showed her the whole thread here and she agreed that we can forego the expense for now. The Bogleheads saved me $1400. Wheeee!

chonp3
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by chonp3 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:48 pm

My family has 35 years in the HVAC trade, and we have never had any duct cleaning. Regular filter changes are enough.

dm52
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by dm52 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:18 pm

If you had remodeling work done and dust was generated inside the house, the contractor should have turned off the system, sealed all of the supply and return registers, and used another heat source. If they let dust or debris fall into the ducts, or worse yet ran the system during work, they need to be the ones who pay for dealing with it.

HoopDiddyDiddy
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Re: Air duct cleaning estimate - too high?

Post by HoopDiddyDiddy » Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:45 am

When we took possession of this home it was filthy (long story) and stunk of wet dog.
I had the ducts cleaned before we even moved our stuff in and it was a revelation.
The guys opened up the unit before they began to show me that it was clean, then afterward showed me what they had collected and it was what looked like twenty pounds of hair, dirt, and who knows what else.
It was $400ish in '07.
Highly recommended. Not a scam.

I have a photo of the result-

Image

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