How Much Does It Cost to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned?

by Team eLocal
Residential HVAC Duct Cleaning with a Power Brush

Air Duct Cleaning Costs at a Glance

  • Total cost: $375, average; $270-$490, range
  • Cost per square foot: 15-25 cents
  • Cost per vent: $25-$40, supply vents; $75, return vents
  • HVAC maintenance: $100 per visit

Air ducts allow air to flow better through your house to keep things smelling and feeling fresh. However, over time, ducts can become filled with debris that may lead to issues such as mold, allergies, rodents, pests and higher energy bills. A good cleaning removes debris and obstructions and gets the air duct system working as it should again.

Here's an overview of air duct cleaning costs, the services offered by professionals and what you should look for before you have work done.

How Much Does Basic Duct Cleaning Cost?

According to Bob Vila, the average cost for basic air duct cleaning is usually between $270 and $490. The national average is about $375 (labor included). There are three main variables affecting the price.

  • The size and complexity of the air duct system. The bigger and more complex the job is, the more you’ll have to pay to clean your duct system. For example, some professionals charge 15 to 25 cents per square foot of the home. If you have a 1,500 square foot home, the cost for air duct cleaning would be about $225. For a 2,500 square foot home, the cost would be around $375.
  • The type of ductwork. A variety of materials are used to build air ducts, such as metal and fiberglass. Ducts can also be smooth or rigid. Depending on the materials and design of the ducts, different cleaning methods have to be used that typically result in adjustments to the basic price.
  • The number of vents in the home. Professional cleaning companies may charge for each vent cleaned. The cost per vent is typically between $25 and $40 per supply vent and $75 for the return vents.

How Much Do Additional HVAC Services Cost?

This depends on the company. Some professional air duct cleaners only specialize in this work, but an HVAC company that does air duct cleaning can also perform other services like maintenance and repair jobs on your system. The costs for routine maintenance typically start around $100 per visit. Repair costs can vary widely depending on what needs to be done.

How Often Should You Have Your Ducts Cleaned?

On average, you should have your air ducts inspected and cleaned every 3 to 5 years unless you notice one of the signs that they need cleaning sooner.

Signs You Need to Have Your Ducts Cleaned?

Mold Is Growing in the Air Ducts

This usually happens when condensation from heating and cooling units penetrates the air duct system. The moisture provides an environment mold needs to prosper. Unfortunately, it's also hard to see this visually because mold can grow anywhere in the ducts. Typically, it’s the musty odor mold gives off that alerts you to the need to have your air ducts cleaned.

Dust Comes Out of the Ducts

This becomes readily apparent if you just dusted, the HVAC units kick on, and it looks like you have to dust again right afterward. Dust and pet dander build up even in the best of conditions, such as when you’ve faithfully changed the air filters like you should on a regular basis.

You See Signs of Rodents or Pests in the Ducts

Rodents such as mice and squirrels can nest in the ducts. The droppings and bacterial waste they leave behind can make you and your family sick. The ducts also allow the rodents and pests to move freely throughout the system and your house. If you see signs of a rodent or pest infestation, you first need to handle the infestation. Then, have your air ducts professionally cleaned.

Major Home Renovations

Home rehab jobs where walls and floors are torn out can create a lot of dust and construction debris in the air. If the air ducts haven’t been sealed off in an area where the renovations are taking place, a lot of that debris can get into the ducts and create blockages.

Increased Energy Costs Year Over Year

If you look back on the previous year’s energy bills and notice there's a noticeable unexplained change in the amount of energy you’re using, it might be caused by the air duct system being blocked with debris. The debris restricts the airflow and makes the HVAC equipment work harder to produce the same results as the year before.

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