How many phone calls have you received attempting to sell an air duct cleaning? Probably too many! As of March 1st, 2018, the Government of Ontario banned door-to-door sales of certain household appliances and services. Since the enactment of this legislation, scammers have turned to telemarket scam-pushing schemes. The HVAC & duct cleaning industry is abundant with bad players. Keep reading below to learn how to quickly recognize the scams and best avoid them. 

NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) launched the Breathing Clean initiative in an effort to help homeowners avoid scams in the air duct cleaning industry. Breathing Clean is dedicated to educating homeowners about the importance of air duct cleaning along with proper cleaning methods. Climate Works is NADCA certified and we are your local duct cleaning experts.

Although some HVAC systems do require intimidating repair and maintenance needs that the average homeowner would rather not, or cannot, take on themselves. Scammers are well aware of this and take advantage of homeowners who do not do their homework prior to getting work done.

3 Types of Air Duct Cleaning Scams

1. Blow-and-go

Many duct cleaning businesses offer low-priced “blow-and-go” services found mostly in flyers and Facebook groups. Depending on the size of a home, professional duct cleaners are able to complete duct cleanings in 2 to 4 homes per day. Blow-and-go companies tend to schedule much more than four appointments in one day, allowing for just enough time to clean ductwork that is readily accessible, leaving behind contaminates in places where you can’t see. These companies do a poor job of cleaning heating and cooling systems and may also persuade a homeowner to pay for unneeded services.

Watch CBC the Marketplace hidden camera investigation about “blow-and-go” companies who overcharge and underperform. The segment features a NADCA expert who helps to expose companies who are scamming consumers.

2. Bait-and-Switch

Make sure to read the fine print! A bait-and-switch occurs when you’re offered an unbelievable deal by coupon, email, social media, or over the phone. Once the company arrives to perform the duct cleaning, they may only perform a fraction of the work required. For example, it is common in a bait-and-switch for the company to only clean your supply ductwork, they will then show you how dirty your return ductwork is and recommend you pay double the price they initially offered to clean it. 

Bait-and-switches are a dishonest attempt to sell “additional services” that are typically included in a proper residential duct cleaning from a NADCA professional. Unfortunately, even when you commit to the upsells, you are still not going to get quality work.

3. Inspection Scams

Many scammers take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners by preying on their fears. They’ll typically offer a great coupon to get their foot in the door. During the air duct cleaning and “inspection” process, the contractor will make false claims about finding mould in the home and attempt to charge thousands of dollars for a service that isn’t needed.

If a contractor tells you they found mould, put the job on hold, and get a second opinion before agreeing to have any more work done. Either call a different company for a second opinion or contact a licensed mould assessor to have your home evaluated.

How to Avoid Air Duct Cleaning Scams

The biggest mistake a homeowner can make is believing that every company provides good service and that the only difference is the price. On paper, reputable companies may seem expensive in comparison to scammers looking to undercut price, but in the long run, the higher price is worth it.

With so many scams targeting homeowners, one of the most common questions homeowners might have when considering air duct cleaning is, “How do I avoid air duct cleaning scams?”

Hire a NADCA certified professional

Certification is often required for contractors to bid on work to be done for commercial or industrial buildings. Why should your home be any different? Duct cleaning companies who are certified by NADCA follow a higher standard in air duct cleaning. With advanced training and certifications in HVAC system cleaning, you can rest assured your money is well spent when hiring a NADCA member.

NADCA makes it easy to be sure you’re hiring a certified professional. If you are shopping for duct cleaning quotes, visit the Find a Professional page on NADCA’s website to start searching for a certified air duct cleaning professional in your area.