How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost?

Many homeowners want to keep the air inside their home as clean as possible. Air duct cleaning cost ranges from $268 to $490, with the national average at $377.

By Katie Flannery and Evelyn Auer | Updated Dec 28, 2022 3:36 PM

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Highlights

  • Homeowners will typically pay between $268 and $490 for air duct cleaning; the national average cost is $377.
  • Several factors affect the cost of air duct cleaning, including the size and type of ductwork, the contamination level, and the home’s geographic location.
  • Duct cleaning can improve the quality of the home’s air, improve the functionality of the HVAC system, and eliminate unpleasant odors.
  • While homeowners can change their furnace filter themselves, it is recommended to leave duct cleaning to a professional as it is a more involved and complicated process.

Concerned about air quality inside the home? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most of the dust and dirt inside of air ducts adheres to the sides of the ducts and doesn’t necessarily enter the home where it can be breathed. The EPA recommends that duct cleaning is needed when there is visible mold growth within the air ducts or on other sections of the heating and cooling system. Some other important reasons to consider air duct cleaning are if the ducts show evidence of an insect or rodent infestation; if the ducts are visibly clogged with dust, dirt, and debris; or if dust and particulates are being released into the living space where they can be inhaled. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the cost to clean air ducts can range from $268 to $490, with the national average at $377. Not sure how often to clean air ducts? It’s recommended that air duct cleaning be done as needed, or every 5 to 7 years. Some factors that affect overall air duct cleaning costs are the state of the duct system, the size of the ductwork, the ease of duct system access, and the number of vents. It’s recommended that the cleaning service attend to all components of the air duct system, including the blower, heat exchanger, drain pan, coils, and plenum.

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Factors in Calculating Air Duct Cleaning Cost

Several factors affect overall air duct cleaning costs. Prices can differ from the national average due to the size and type of ductwork, the number of vents, contamination level, accessibility, local labor costs, and geographic location.

Ductwork Size

Air duct cleaning costs depend on the ductwork size. Air duct cleaning professionals typically charge by the vent or by the square foot, and duct cleaning costs approximately $25 to $50 per vent. To find out the average price, homeowners can count each duct and multiply by $35. Each vent connects the HVAC system to each room via ducts. If the professional charges by the square foot, it will cost about $0.14 to $0.25 per square foot. The total price for a 1,500- square-foot house can run between $225 and $375 on average. Some air duct cleaning companies may also charge by the system. On average, cleaning can cost from $200 to $1,000.

Ductwork Type

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There are different materials, tools, and cleaning methods for foam board, fiberglass, flex, or rigid ducts. Foam board or fiberglass ducts can be cleaned with contact vacuuming, air washing, or power brushing. Flex ductwork requires specialized equipment, and not every company may offer the service. Rigid ductwork is more straightforward to clean, and virtually every duct cleaning company will offer the service.

Number of Vents

Air duct vent cleaning can average between $25 and $50 per supply vent. Price estimates can be arranged according to four different pricing methods.

  • Per vent. Some air duct cleaning professionals will charge by how many vents there are in the system.
  • Per vent plus flat fee. Some companies will charge a flat fee for air duct cleaning and add a fee per vent.
  • Per vent plus trip fee. A customer may be charged a fee for the company to make the trip to the home (to cover overhead costs), and then the company will add the price of each vent separately.
  • Per square foot. Some air duct cleaning professionals will charge by the home’s square footage to determine air duct cleaning costs.
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Contamination Level 

In addition to dust, air ducts can contain contaminants such as animal dander and waste, dust mites, mold spores, pollen, mildew, and bacteria. The level of contamination of the air duct system will determine the price range for duct cleaning. The more contaminated the ductwork, the more time it will take to clean.

Accessibility

Many homes have entry points in the basement or utility room that provide easy access to the air duct system. There may be an extra charge if there are difficult-to-reach areas in the attic or tight crawl spaces. The overall cost will vary depending on the location, the air duct cleaning company, and project scope.

Duct Cleaning Company

The cost to have air ducts cleaned and serviced can range depending on the company. Some of the most common national services charge between $200 and $1,000 including labor, but these prices can also be affected by factors like location and the size of the home.

Labor  

Many air duct cleaning companies will charge by the vent or by the square footage of the home. Some companies charge an hourly rate, often $90 to $125 per hour. They will assess the contamination level of the air duct system, the system size, the air handler location, and accessibility to determine the time it will take to clean.

Geographic Location 

Geographic location also impacts air duct cleaning costs. Customers can research “air duct cleaning near me” to get an idea of local prices. The following are some air duct cleaning prices for major cities.

  • Nevada: $220 to $462
  • California: $222 to $452
  • Denver, Colorado: $240 to $400
  • Texas: $263 to $712
  • Illinois: $267 to $395
  • New York: $268 to $488
  • Michigan: $290 to $429
  • New Hampshire: $312 to $538
  • Phoenix, Arizona: $320 to $480
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $240 to $460
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $260 to $510
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: $220 to $410
  • Des Moines, Iowa: $550 to $800
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Additional Costs and Considerations

When budgeting for air duct cleaning costs, there may be additional price factors and considerations. These costs can range from inspection fees and repair costs to more significant charged for eliminating pests, mold, or asbestos.

Inspection

Air duct inspection costs range from $75 to $125. Some companies will apply the cost of inspection toward the cleaning if the same service is used. A camera is used to inspect the ductwork and check for pests, damage, debris, mold, insulation issues, and dust buildup. It’s recommended that homeowners have air ducts inspected at least once per year.

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Duct Repair or Replacement

It costs around $200 to $800 to repair air ducts depending on the severity of the damage. Air duct cleaning professionals may recommend furnace repair if they observe damage to the blower motor or heat exchanger. Furnace repair costs $130 to $500, and air-conditioning repair costs $160 to $550 on average. Custom ductwork may cost more to repair or replace since it’s more difficult to find replacement parts.

Number of Furnaces and AC Units

The more furnaces and air-conditioning units there are in a house, the more it will cost to clean the air ducts. Each additional furnace will add $400 to the cost of furnace duct cleaning. Although it’s not common for homes to have more than one furnace, a second furnace is often found in homes with additions where the original furnace was not powerful enough to heat the entire space.

Pest Removal

Rodents and insects can make their way into an air duct system and create a cozy home. They may chew their way into the ductwork, or there may be an unsealed area with easy access. Rodent droppings can cause respiratory illness. Pest extermination costs between $150 and $500 to remove mice, rats, or other rodents. If there are any droppings within the air duct system, homeowners will want to call an exterminator. A rodent or insect infestation may require more than just a simple duct cleaning.

Mold and Mildew Removal

In addition to air duct cleaning costs, professional mold remediation costs $600 and $2,000. Removing mold and mildew involves special equipment, chemicals, and additional time. Air duct sanitizing, which can help prevent future mold and mildew growth, costs $100 to $250. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that most air duct cleaning doesn’t remove all traces of mold. Duct sanitizing involves spraying an antibacterial disinfectant into the ductwork. The EPA, insulation experts, and air duct professionals acknowledge that moisture should not be inside fiberglass-lined ductwork. If the mold and mildew problem is severe, the air duct cleaning professionals may suggest a specialist to take care of the job.

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Asbestos Removal

An air duct cleaning professional can inspect a duct system to make sure there are no asbestos materials in the heating and cooling system. Removing asbestos materials requires specialized procedures, and the material should only be removed or disturbed by specially trained professionals. The cost of asbestos removal will depend on its extent, but the national average is about $5 to $20 per square foot.

Custom Duct Cleaning

Homeowners can expect to pay 25 to 30 percent more for custom-designed ducts. The job will take longer than cleaning stock ductwork since the cleaning professionals need to take their time and make sure they do the job right. Custom ductwork increases the labor cost and may require specialized tools or techniques.

Air Duct Coating

The producers of products marketed to coat duct surfaces assert that air duct coating sealants will prevent dust and other particles inside the ducts from being released into the home. According to the EPA, tests have shown that the sealant does not completely cover the duct surface, and it may reduce the acoustic and fire-retardant qualities of fiberglass ducts. Having a coating applied to the ductwork may also invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty. Not much is known regarding the toxicity of these products and what happens if they catch fire. There is also concern about the breakdown of the coating sealant and whether it would add additional particles to the ductwork air. It costs between $180 to $625 to have air ducts coated on average.

HVAC Inspection and Cleaning

HVAC inspections can run from $250 to $400 or more, and cleaning costs $70 to $195. General HVAC service costs $75 to $200. Companies that clean air ducts will typically charge in one of three ways: a flat rate, per vent, or per square foot. Some air duct cleaning companies will have a package rate based on the total number of vents or square feet, and others will charge based on the individual needs of the HVAC system.

Furnace or AC Repairs

A furnace or air-conditioning unit may need to be repaired if an AC duct cleaning professional detects damage. The cost of a furnace tune-up or repair may be between $130 to $500 and the cost to repair an air-conditioning unit is $160 to $600.

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Dryer vent cleaning is an important annual maintenance task as clogged vents are a fire hazard and can decrease the home’s energy efficiency. On average, dryer vent cleaning costs $100 to $170. This cost will be closer to $100 if the service is included with annual duct cleaning.

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Types of Air Ducts

There is more than one type of air duct, and some varieties are easier to clean than others. It’s a good idea for homeowners to inform services of what kind of ductwork their home or building has and ensure that they know how to clean air ducts of this variety before hiring their services.

Flex

Flex ducts, which resemble dryer vents, are flexible pipes that are able to be fitted around plumbing and tight corners more easily than traditional ductwork. Flexible ducts can be cleaned, but because they are more delicate than regular ductwork they require the careful touch of a professional.

Rigid

Rigid ductwork is more expensive to install than flexible ducts, but it is also less prone to damage during cleanings. It is also the most common type of ductwork. For this reason, rigid ductwork tends to last longer than flex. Some common issues with rigid ductwork include moisture and mold accumulation, but these can be kept at bay with regular cleaning and inspections.

Fiberglass

Most common in commercial buildings, fiberglass-lined ductwork provides more insulation and noise reduction than other materials. In some cases, the fiberglass lining can begin to break down, which is an air quality hazard. However, regular vacuuming or power brushing by a professional should prevent this issue as well as other common problems like excess moisture.

Do I Need Air Duct Cleaning?

While some homeowners might look for reasons to skip air duct cleaning, it’s recommended that HVAC duct cleaning be done as needed or if there is visible dirt, dust, debris, mold, insect infestation, or rodent droppings. The EPA supports air duct cleaning if the dust and debris are being released into the home.

Clogged Vents or Ducts

If a homeowner is wondering, “Why is my house so dusty?” and there is visible dust or debris that exits a vent any time the air is turned on, this is a clear sign that the air ducts are past due for cleaning. Not only will the dust be spread throughout the home, but clogs can also decrease the system’s efficiency by preventing air from flowing freely.

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Clogged Air Filters

It is generally recommended to replace air filters once every 3 months. If the home’s air filters become clogged after just a week, the air ducts will more than likely need to be cleaned.

Unpleasant Odor

If an air duct has excessive dust, mold, or mildew, residents may notice a musty smell whenever the air conditioning kicks on. Homeowners will want to pay attention to when musty smells appear or take a whiff next to the registers to find out if the problem is the duct system.

Unusual Noises

An air duct that is clean and in good working order will not make an excessive amount of noise. If the sound of the motor is accompanied by other unusual noises, it is a good idea for a homeowner to have an air duct technician perform an inspection.

Presence of Mold or Mildew

Mold and mildew in the air can be detrimental to anyone’s health, but those with compromised immune systems or allergies may suffer even more. If there is visible mold in or around vents and ductwork, it is wise for a homeowner to have this cleaned immediately to avoid spreading spores throughout the home.

Unstable or Poor Airflow

Airflow that is inconsistent from one room to the next is likely a sign that the home is in need of air duct maintenance. An inspection can reveal the source of the problem and can determine whether repairs or cleaning are needed in order to regulate airflow again.

Presence of Pests

Pests like mice and rats don’t just hang out in the attic or pantry—they may also find their way into a home’s ductwork. This is an urgent problem, as animals can both damage the ductwork and leave behind waste that contaminates the home’s air quality. Homeowners will want to consider paying the cost of mice extermination as the problem may be compounded the longer it goes on.

Increased Energy Costs

Clogged air ducts run inefficiently, which can significantly drive up energy costs. If a home’s energy bills have been consistently high for seemingly no reason, scheduling an air duct cleaning is one of the first things homeowners will want to try to remedy the issue.

Worsening Allergy Symptoms

Dirty air ducts don’t just harbor dust, but also mold, pollen, and other allergens. If someone in the home is experiencing heightened allergy symptoms, it may be because these spores and particles are being emitted from the air ducts.

Recent Remodeling Project

Construction produces a large amount of dust, which can find its way into the air ducts. Brand-new homes or houses that have recently undergone construction will need to have their air ducts clean once the project is finished.

Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

Those with allergies and severe respiratory illnesses may benefit from air duct cleaning. Some advantages of air duct cleaning are health benefits, improved system performance and airflow efficiency, extension of the HVAC lifespan, and possible odor elimination.

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Health Benefits

Dirty or dusty ducts don’t necessarily mean the air inside of a home is unhealthy. Still, for those with allergies, asthma, or autoimmune disorders, contaminants in the ductwork may cause irritation or illness. The ductwork inside a home may distribute contaminant particles throughout the home. If this is the case, air duct cleaning will aid in cleaner air circulating throughout a home.

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Improved System Performance and Airflow Efficiency

Ductwork with a heavy buildup of dust and debris may prevent adequate airflow and impede smooth system performance. The HVAC system will have to work harder to get air through the ducts, which will decrease energy efficiency. A clean system that’s clear of dirt and dust will run smoothly and provide an energy-efficient and cost-effective circulation of air throughout the home.

HVAC Lifespan Extension

A dirty HVAC system will put unnecessary wear and tear on the entire system, which may cause it to break down. It may be possible to avoid costly repairs or untimely replacement with a clean HVAC system.

Odor Elimination

Pets, tobacco smoke, cooking odors, dirt, dust, and mold can contribute to stale smells throughout a home. When a furnace or air conditioner runs, it will redistribute the unpleasant odors through the house. A dirty air duct system will add to any unpleasant smells that are present. By removing any odor-causing particles, air duct cleaning will result in a fresher-smelling home.

Air Duct Cleaning: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

It is not recommended for homeowners to clean air ducts as a DIY project. A professional air duct cleaner will have the special equipment needed to properly clean the ductwork thoroughly. Improper DIY air duct cleaning can cause damage to the ductwork, lining, insulation, and connections within the HVAC system. A licensed, professional cleaner has the correct rotary brushes, high-powered vacuums, and other special equipment to do the job right. A professional will clean all parts of the system, including the grilles, supply and return ducts, exchangers, diffusers, fans, drip pans, and the air handling unit. This takes time and the expertise to know how to clean the ducts and not make the air quality worse. If an air duct system is improperly cleaned, it can stir up dust, pollen, debris, and other particulates that are released into the home. Homeowners will want to hire an air duct cleaning professional if there is visible mold, insulated ducts that are difficult to access, dust and debris clogging the ducts, or rodent droppings or if construction has recently been done on the home. Home renovation produces large amounts of dust and debris, and it can get inside the ductwork and recirculate inside the home.

How to Save Money on Air Duct Cleaning Cost

Air duct cleaning costs can be high, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. However, air duct cleaning can save money in the long run, so it may be worth it for certain homes.

  • Save on utility bills. Air duct cleaning costs are worth it when it’s possible to save between 10 and 30 percent on utility bills. Cleaning air ducts makes the system more efficient, which will help mitigate costs.
  • Get more than one quote. Call around to several air duct cleaning services to compare prices and determine the best option for your needs.
  • Have air duct damage repaired quickly. Leaks or punctures can cause air to escape, usually meaning higher energy bills.
  • Replace filters frequently. Putting in fresh filters at least every 3 months will help keep the system clean and reduce the need for cleanings.
  • Reduce the risk of major repairs or replacement. Keeping the ducts and HVAC system in good condition will lessen the chance of a costly, unexpected repair or replacement down the road.

Questions to Ask About Air Duct Cleaning

Asking a professional the right questions about air duct cleaning costs can minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. The following are some questions homeowners can ask an air duct cleaning professional before hiring them.

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Will you provide me with an estimate?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have workers’ compensation?
  • What is the price range for this air duct cleaning job?
  • Tell me about the technicians who will clean the air ducts in my home.
  • How long will the job take?
  • Does your business follow the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) guidelines?
  • What specialized tools will you use?
  • Do you offer a warranty?
  • Do you have references?
  • How can my system be more energy efficient?
  • What temperature range do you recommend I set my thermometer during each season?
  • What are some ways to improve indoor air quality?

FAQs

Deciding on air duct cleaning while staying within a strict budget can be a daunting process. What follows are some frequently asked questions about air duct cleaning costs to help guide homeowners through the process.

Q. How often should I clean my air ducts?

The EPA recommends air ducts be cleaned if they are contaminated with large amounts of dirt, dust, and debris; if there is visible mold; or if there is a rodent or insect infestation. It’s generally recommended that homeowners have their air ducts cleaned every 5 to 7 years or as necessary.

Q. How do I know if I need to clean my air ducts?

Air ducts will need to be cleaned in any of the following scenarios:

  • There is visible evidence of mold
  • There are large amounts of dust, dirt, and debris that are blocking the ductwork
  • There is visible dust coming out of air vents into the home
  • The ducts are infested with insects or rodents
  • The home has recently undergone a renovation.

Q. Does duct cleaning remove mold?

Air duct cleaning can remove mold, but cleaning may not always remove 100 percent of mold. If the issue is severe, a homeowner will want to call a mold remediation professional to remove and prevent the recurrence of mold within the ductwork.

Q. How long does air duct cleaning take?

Air duct cleaning can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, depending on the size of the home and the amount of ductwork.

Q. Can I clean my air ducts myself?

It is generally recommended to have a professional clean air ducts to avoid damage and injury. Some states even require a license for this work. Homeowners may, however, replace their filters themselves.

Sources: HomeAdvisor, Fixr, HomeGuide, Angi (1 and 2)

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