Blow & Go: Air Duct Cleaning Scams

professional duct cleaning

There’s a lot of talk about indoor air quality these days, and more and more households are exploring options for HVAC system cleaning. Most contractors out there take great pride in a job well done and are honest and fair in the home improvement and repair industry.

But like any industry, air duct cleaning is not immune to scammers who set out to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners.

In fact, the industry is plagued with fraudulent service providers eager to cheat homeowners. And now, with the COVID-19 pandemic dragging on and on, swindlers are on the prowl to an even greater degree, pouncing on homeowners who are already concerned about the health and safety of their families. 

When it comes to air duct cleaning specifically, homeowners should beware of what we like to call ‘blow-and-go’ companies that often hook unsuspecting homeowners with bargain-basement prices, then do an inferior job, only cleaning what the homeowner can see, and leaving dirt and contaminants deep within the system.

These types of contractors can cause more harm than good by agitating rather than removing dust, debris, and pollutants in air ducts. If not eradicated, all those pollutants circulate throughout the ductwork and make their way into the air you and your family breathe. 

Deceitful contractors also up-sell add-on services, persuading the homeowner to pay for unneeded services. For instance, they may falsely lead homeowners to believe they have mold or other toxic substances in their HVAC systems or use scare tactics to convince a homeowner that urgent repairs are necessary.

Homeowners, buyers beware!

When all those flyers appear in your mailbox for air duct cleaning deals that seem too good to be true, they probably are!

When tempted by great savings and a chance to mark off one of those daunting tasks on your to-do list, it’s easy to jump at what seems like a great bargain. But before diving in, pause and ask yourself if the deal will save you money or cost you more in the long run.

It’s essential to know the signs of a scam, and as a homeowner, you can take steps to ensure you don’t fall prey to dishonest tactics. 

How to spot 5 common home improvement schemes. 

  1. Pressure for a Quick Decision: A respectable company won’t pressure you into making an immediate decision. Qualified contractors know that home improvement services are a serious investment and understand that you must consider your decision carefully for a few days.
  2. Ask for Payment Up Front or Only Accept Cash: While it’s possible a reasonable down payment can be part of the process, an excessive amount — or asking for payment in full — is a huge red flag. A reputable company will ask that the majority of the cost for the service is paid after the job.
  3. Convince the Homeowner of Unforeseen Problems: While unforeseen problems do pop up, be cautious if your contractor finds reasons to increase prices. Make sure everything is in writing, and if you’re suspicious about price increases, consider getting a second opinion.
  4. Knock on Your Door: Beware of a contractor that knocks on your door saying he/she was “just in the neighborhood.” An established company will earn business through advertisements or referrals. Going door-to-door to find work is a sure sign of a scammer.
  5. Low-ball Prices: Not to say that reputable companies never offer promotional pricing or discounts, but it’s best to be cautious of companies promoting rock-bottom service prices. Beware of coupons with $89 “whole house air duct cleaning” or “HVAC mold and soot removal.”

A Few Words About the Cost of Air Duct Cleaning

Just like other products and services, cheaper is rarely better when it comes to air duct cleaning. Even the best bargain hunters know there are some instances when you can skimp, but other times when something is worth the investment. 

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