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Article Archive >> Business

Tips for Consumers: Furnace Duct Cleaning

Tips for Consumers
Furnace Duct Cleaning

"I hired a company to clean the furnace air ducts in my house. They advertised they could do a whole house for $79. But when they finished they claimed that I needed much more work and charged me over $400 more! What a racket!"
Consumers in the Hagerstown area often see ads promoting heating system duct cleaning. But we at the BBB caution about unsupported health claims and too good to be true prices. Here are some tips from the National Air Duct Cleaning Association and the US Environmental Protection Agency:
* Since conditions in every home are different, it is impossible to generalize about whether or not air duct cleaning in your home would be beneficial. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that air ducts only be cleaned on an as-needed basis. Does duct cleaning prevent health problems? No one knows and research continues.
* Use caution in dealing with companies that advertise gimmicks such as $49.00 to $99.00 "Whole House Specials." NO ONE can provide a professional air system cleaning to include the cleaning of the air handler, blower, coils and the entire duct system (including the vents) for these prices. The whole intent for this type of ad is to get into the door and then sell more expensive services and/or products.
* A legitimate firm should FIRST examine your heating system, then give you a written estimate. Although homes vary considerably, a typical three or four bedroom home will require 4 to 8 hours for cleaning.
* The EPA says that "duct cleaning services typically - but not always - range in cost from $450 to $1000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climactic region, and level of contamination" and type of duct material.
The EPA also says: "See if the company has been in business long enough to have adequate experience, and inquire whether the company is in good standing with your local Better Business Bureau." To do this, visit our web site, www.bbbmd.org or give us a call 24 hours a day at (410) 347-3992 to find out if we have received complaints.
* Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured. Do they carry Workers Compensation and liability insurance in case they are injured on the job or damage something?

To file a complaint visit: www.baltimore.bbb.org or write: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore MD 21230. Their office serves Baltimore and all of Greater Maryland.

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