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Air Duct Cleaning Cost

The average cost of cleaning air ducts is $750 - $1,000​.

In this guide

Pros and cons
Signs that your air ducts need to be cleaned
Cost factors
AC air duct cleaning vs dryer exhaust air duct cleaning
Labor
Post-clean-up checklist
Cost by service
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to clean air ducts?

Your heating and cooling system is composed of multiple parts, including air ducts that push air through the house. Air duct cleaning involves removing dust, debris, and mold from both the air ducts and the heating and cooling components, such as the blower 1, condensing coils, and air vents.

Air ducts recirculate air repeatedly, and that may mean circulating dust and even mold. This can exacerbate allergies and possibly create breathing problems in the future. Cleaning a complex air duct system will cost $750-$1,600, which may also include the cost of pest control services (a common reason to clean the ductwork).

Pros and cons

Like many home services, having your air ducts cleaned has its pros and cons. While it is an added expense and a slight inconvenience to your everyday living, it also ensures that your air ducts are not pushing through particles that you don’t need to breathe in. Having your air ducts cleaned every few years and inspected annually will help you stay ahead of problems before they escalate.

ProsCons

Removes mold

Removes excess dust and debris

May help reduce allergy symptoms

May take up to a day

Requires annual system inspection


Signs that your air ducts need to be cleaned

There are several signs that your air ducts need to be cleaned, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • Mold: you should have your air ducts cleaned if there is substantial mold growth on the hard surfaces of your heating and cooling system components. Mold can become a serious problem, but disreputable companies may try to convince you there is mold in order to upcharge you. Laboratory analysis is required to officially determine if the visible substance is mold, which costs about $50. Wet and moldy insulation around air ducts must be replaced entirely.
  • Vermin: ducts infested with vermin such as rodents and insects must be cleared of the infestation, then cleaned. Pest extermination costs vary based on the type and scope of the infestation, but range in cost from $50-$1,200.
  • Excessive dust and debris: air is recirculated in your heating and cooling seasons, and air filters become clogged over time. If filters are not replaced, excess dust and debris can clog the air ducts and circulate in your breathing space.
  • Fire or flood: these types of home damage can cause moisture and contaminants to build up in the system. Cleaning the ducts will give your system a fresh start.
  • Sudden allergies or breathing problems: cleaning the air ducts won’t magically make pre-existing conditions like asthma go away, but it’s a different issue when breathing problems or illness come on suddenly. Contact a professional to get an inspection.
  • Recent purchase or remodel: home renovations can create a lot of breathable dust. If you have recently purchased your home or have recently completed a remodel, have your air ducts cleaned to get rid of the excess debris.
  • Lifestyle: air ducts should be cleaned as needed, but if you have pets who shed heavily or you have a smoker in the household, your air ducts may need cleaning more often than those who do not.

Cost factors

There are several factors involved in providing a cost estimate for your air duct cleaning. One major factor is the size of your system. Larger, more complex systems will take more time to clean and will therefore cost more. Furnace components will also need to be cleaned, so the pros will have to factor in the cost of cleaning multiple furnaces. The location of your air duct system is also a factor, the harder it is to reach, the more expensive the cleanup.

Asbestos 2 is a separate issue that may need to be addressed in certain homes. If asbestos is present it will need to be removed. Asbestos removal varies in cost based on the scope of the removal project, but you can anticipate paying $200 to $700.

It’s possible that there may be mold in your air ducts, but it will need to be tested to verify. A small mold test costs about $50. The air duct cleaning process may remove mold from that specific location, but total mold remediation is a separate service that is applied to the whole house and ranges from $500 to $6,000 depending on the scope of the mold problem.

AC air duct cleaning vs dryer exhaust air duct cleaning

Air duct cleaning generally refers to the HVAC air ducts, but there is a separate service that involves cleaning the air ducts of your dryer’s exhaust system.

Cleaning serviceFrequencyWho does it?

HVAC air duct cleaning

($450-$1,600)
As neededHVAC professional

Dryer air duct cleaning

($90-$160)
AnnuallyDryer exhaust technician


Labor

Some companies charge for air duct cleaning by the hour ($90-$125), and the amount of time it takes depends on the complexity of your project. Other professionals will charge a flat rate for the whole service, but be wary of scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, a company advertising a “Whole Home Air Duct Cleaning” for $99 is not a reasonable estimate and you will probably not get any benefits from the cleaning process.

Air duct cleaning means more than just cleaning the ducts themselves. An experienced professional will know to clean all components of your system. The cleaning process may involve loosening and vacuuming debris and dust, applying EPA-approved cleaners to the ductwork and air duct components. The blowers 1, plenums, air vents, and cooling components will all need to be cleaned. This is particularly important if you have evidence of mold, if so, leaving parts unclean may lead to mold returning quickly.

Post-clean-up checklist

In order to avoid clogging your air ducts with dust after everything has been cleaned, make sure you do the following:

  • Use high-efficiency air filters and change them as needed.
  • Close off registers and vents during remodeling work and do not use the HVAC system until the renovation dust has been cleared.
  • Dust and vacuum your home regularly.
  • Maintain dehumidifier components as directed. Faulty dehumidifying equipment can potentially lead to mold and mildew.

Cost by service

There are some national companies that specialize in these types of cleaning services. See how they compare:

Service providerCost
Sears$150 for biannual HVAC inspection, not including air duct cleaning
Stanley Steemer$500 or more, depending on the number of furnaces or vents
Coit$500 or more, depending on the number of vents and furnaces


Enhancement and improvement costs

Video inspection

Depending on your home, your air ducts may be harder to access. A video inspection is an easy way to look for signs your ducts need cleaning. This may be part of a regular HVAC inspection, or it may be part of a more extensive cleaning process, which can cost as much as $1,000.

Repairs, duct sealing, and replacements

An HVAC inspection or cleaning may reveal that the ducts need more than a cleaning. Repairs can range from inexpensive sensors ($10-$20) to motors and pumps ($500-$600). Services such as duct sealing are charged by the hour ($90-$125). The price to fully replace an HVAC system, including parts and labor, is approximately $10,000-$14,000.

Furnace cleaning

A related service is your annual furnace maintenance, which includes some cleaning but not necessarily full duct cleaning. Air ducts don’t need to be fully cleaned every year, but annual furnace maintenance will ensure better efficiency. Furnace maintenance includes a visual inspection of the furnace, ducts, and wiring. An HVAC professional can do the inspection, which takes about an hour (not including repairs), and costs $90-$125. That does not include any necessary repairs.

AC cleaning

Parts of the air conditioning unit will also need periodic cleaning. The evaporator and condensing coils get dirty and less efficient over time. And HVAC professional can clean these and charge by the hour ($90-$125 per hour).

Mold remediation

It’s possible that mold may be present in the air ducts. If that’s the case, mold may be present in other parts of the house. Air duct cleaning will be limited to the air ducts and connected areas and can remove mold from those specific places. Mold remediation is a more in-depth service that identifies all sources of mold and eliminates not just the mold but also what causes it. Mold remediation ranges from $500-$6,000 depending on the severity and complexity of the mold problem.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Cleaning your air ducts can certainly help with allergies, but it’s not a miracle cure. Allergy and asthma sufferers may have other triggers beyond indoor air particles. 
  • Duct cleaning can also help your HVAC system run more efficiently, but your power bill may not see a noticeable difference.
  • An annual inspection by an HVAC professional can help you avoid air duct cleaning unless it’s absolutely necessary. Part of the inspection process is replacing air filters. New air filters help keep particles like dust and pet hair from building up in the ducts. An average HVAC inspection costs $150-$400.
  • An air duct in a mobile home is different than that of a traditional house. Mobile home ducts are H-shaped and can trigger breathing problems when left uncleaned for too long. The cost for mobile home air duct cleaning will vary on the size of your house.
  • In addition to cleaning your air ducts, some companies will also offer carpet and drape cleaning services as well. If better air quality is your goal, cleaning the carpets and drapes will help eliminate other harmful air particles. This would be an extra charge on top of the air duct cleaning. Carpet cleaning typically costs $25-$250, and drape cleaning will cost $85-$400 per double set of drapes.
  • When looking for a professional, it’s critical that you find someone with experience working with a system similar to what you have. Be cautious of any provider who claims to be certified by the EPA (the EPA does not endorse professionals). Some states require a specific license. Check your state’s guidelines to determine your area’s requirements.
  • Discuss your air duct cleaning needs with your pro before they get started. Make sure they don’t use any harsh chemicals, insecticides, or any other products you don’t want to breathe in. Remember, what goes into your air ducts will be what you breathe in later!
  • Do-it-yourselfers may be interested in knowing if this a job you can do yourself. You can certainly replace your own air filters, but the cleaning process requires a lot of safety equipment that you may not have readily available. You may also not be able to access all of the places you need to go. While you may be able to do it yourself, it’s easier and safer to go with a professional.
  • While the EPA doesn’t certify professionals, there is a national association. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) has thousands of members. Some scurrilous pros will claim they are members of NADCA, but you should check the professional directory to confirm.

FAQ

  • Is cleaning air ducts worth it?

The better question is, “can you afford to not clean your air ducts?” Dirty air ducts may mean breathing in mold and other particles that impact your ability to breathe. This can create even more health issues if you have asthma or allergies.

  • How much does it cost to have your air ducts cleaned?

It depends on the complexity of your air duct system, but the cost to clean air ducts ranges from $450 to $1,600.

  • How do I know if my air ducts need cleaning?

An annual inspection will help you determine if your ducts need cleaning. A visual inspection may also show signs of mold on hard surfaces. If you have pets, air ducts should be cleaned regularly, and if you have had a vermin problem you should have your ducts cleaned after the vermin have been eradicated.

  • Is duct cleaning a waste of money?

Clean air ducts mean you breathe in cleaner air. However, you don’t need to have it done annually. It’s only a waste of money if you have them cleaned when it’s not needed.

  • How often should you have your air ducts cleaned?

The average household should have air ducts cleaned every few years as needed. Houses with a recurring vermin problem, recurring mold, or lots of pets will need to have them cleaned more regularly.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Blower 1 Blower: An accessory that makes a fireplace more efficient by circulating the warm air in the fireplace to other areas of the home
2 Asbestos: A group of fire-resistant silicate minerals found in construction materials including paint, particularly in older homes. When the asbestos deteriorates, particles can become airborne and this is a serious health hazard.

Cost to clean air ducts varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

picture related to the guide

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albany, GA
0%
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Amarillo, TX
-15%
Anaheim, CA
+21%
Anna, TX
+23%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Arlington, VA
+38%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Aurora, IL
+21%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Boise, ID
-11%
Bremerton, WA
-18%
Broken Arrow, OK
-17%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Chandler, AZ
-2%
Charleston, SC
-1%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Coronado, CA
+28%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Edgewater, MD
+5%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Hackensack, NJ
+26%
Hinesville, GA
+8%
Houston, TX
+24%
Irving, TX
+10%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Kissimmee, FL
-20%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Madison, WI
+13%
Manassas, VA
+12%
Marietta, GA
+10%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Monticello, KY
-49%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Olathe, KS
+9%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palm Coast, FL
-32%
Parkville, MD
+17%
Pasadena, CA
+15%
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources