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How Long Does Air Duct Cleaning Take: A Complete Guide

dirty air ducts that need cleaning

If you're wondering how long it takes to clean a duct system, then you've come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will provide answers to all your questions about air duct cleaning, including what to expect throughout the process such as if duct cleaning results in any mess, how much it typically costs, and much more.

Let's dive in and take a closer look!

Should You Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Before we dive into the information about how long does air duct cleaning take, we want to first ask a very important question...

Should you be having your air ducts cleaned?

You may be surprised to hear that most of the time, you should not be having your air ducts cleaned. Here's why and what you should be doing.

One of the most important aspects when it comes to caring for your HVAC system is ensuring that your air ducts are functioning properly. Not only do they help to circulate fresh conditioned air throughout the home, but they can also ensure a safe and healthy environment for your family.

With that being said, 20% to 30% of the air that moves through the air ducts in your home is lost due to issues such as leaks, holes, and poorly installed ducts. This can not only lead to higher utility bills but can make it difficult to keep the house comfortable regardless of thermostat settings.

Fortunately, you don't have to pay someone to clean your air ducts every time there's a problem, you can instead choose to have them sealed or replaced by a professional.

This way, you'll be able to improve the air quality of your home while also saving on energy costs each month. Without the proper sealing of your air ducts, you'll continue to have issues with your HVAC system and will have to continue to have your air ducts cleaned.

Once sealed, you won't have to worry about your air ducts becoming dirty as this only happens when there is an issue with your system. So as HVAC professionals in the business, we highly recommend that you have your air ducts sealed rather than cleaned.

Now, with that being said, if you still choose to have your air ducts cleaned, here is what it looks like!

air ducts professionally cleaned and sealed

How Long Does it Take to Clean a Duct System?

Air duct cleaning can take anywhere from a few hours (which is average) to a full day. It all really depends on the size and scope of the project.

  • How big is your home and duct system
  • How long ago was it inspected and cleaned
  • Has it ever been cleaned
  • Are you experiencing issues

Questions such as these will determine how long it's going to take an HVAC professional to completely clean your ductwork.

Professional air duct cleaners will carefully inspect all components of your duct system, including the air handler, furnace, vents, registers, and returns.

Any contaminated areas or clogged filters will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized using advanced cleaning techniques and specialized tools. Afterward, all surfaces are sanitized and checked for quality control to ensure your system is in working order. All of this takes time.

However, an average home that has had its ducts cleaned at least a few times can expect the project to be completed in about 2 to 4 hours.

How to Prepare Your Home for Air Duct Cleaning

Before an air duct cleaner arrives, it's best to prepare your home for the process. This includes things like removing furniture and other objects that may be in the way or obstructing the vent areas.

Ideally, you should do the following before having your air ducts cleaned:

  • Clear a path around the vents and registers
  • Clear a path around your furnace or HVAC unit
  • Figure out where to have your pets while they are working
  • Decide if you are going to stay or leave for the appointment

Once your HVAC technician has arrived, you should also do the following:

  • Do a walk-through with the technician and show them around
  • Ask any question you have

Doing these small tasks ahead of time and when they arrive will ensure that things go as smoothly as possible once you start your air duct cleaning project.

air duct cleaning in residential home in alabama

What to Expect When You Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned

When you get your air ducts cleaned, you can expect a few things. First, the technician will check to make sure all components are functioning properly and that the system is in good condition before they start cleaning. Identifying any common issues with your air ducts is an important first step of the process.

Afterward, they'll use specialized tools such as brushes and vacuums to suck out dirt and debris from each section of your ductwork. Once finished, all surfaces will be sanitized for safety reasons.

On average, it takes about 2-4 hours for an HVAC technician to complete their job. However, as we've already mentioned this can differ depending on the size of your home and the complexity of your system.

How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost?

The cost of air duct cleaning can vary depending on the size and scope of your home and the HVAC system. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average cost of having your air duct system cleaned in an average-sized home can cost between $450 to $1,000. 

For more complex jobs or larger homes, the price can go up to $3,000 or more. It's best to contact your local HVAC professionals in order to get a more accurate estimate as they'll be able to inspect your system before giving you an exact cost.

thomas hvac employee completed air duct sealing and cleaning

How Much Does Air Duct Sealing Cost?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, we recommend that rather than having your air ducts cleaned, you have your air ducts either sealed or replaced. This is due to the fact that if you have dirty air ducts, there is a serious issue with your system. Which means if you ignore that having it only cleaned, then you are essential to putting a band-aid on a serious injury.

With that being said, on average you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $4,00 for air duct sealing. Although again, this can vary depending on things such as the region you live in.

Here in Alabama, you can expect to pay between $1,000 to $2.500.

how much does air duct sealing cost infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I know if my home has poorly performing air ducts?

A. Keep an eye out for signs like high summer and winter utility bills, stuffy rooms, or tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system.

Q. What are the benefits of having my air ducts sealed or replaced?

A. Having your air ducts sealed or replaced will improve the air quality in your home while also reducing energy costs each month. It also removes the need to have your air ducts cleaned on a regular basis. It's okay to have your dirty air vents cleaned, but remember that is only a temporary solution, you still need to have them sealed, otherwise they'll continue to get dirty.

Q. Is it necessary to have my air ducts cleaned on a regular basis?

A. If your air ducts need to be cleaned, it means there is an issue in your system. In this case, you should have your system either sealed or replaced. if you're noticing any of the issues mentioned above, then it may be worth looking into having them sealed or replaced by an HVAC professional.

Q. Is there a mess after your air ducts have been cleaned?

A. No, the HVAC technician should leave your home as clean as it was when they arrived. They'll make sure to contain any mess and debris that results from the cleaning process so you don't have to worry about it.

Q. Can I stay in my home when my air ducts are cleaned or sealed?

A. Yes, you can stay in your home while they are cleaning or sealing your air ducts.

Q. How do I get a quote for air duct sealing or air duct cleaning?

A. You can contact your local HVAC professionals to get a quote on their services. They will be able to assess the complexity of your system and give you an exact price for their work.

dirty air ducts that need sealing and cleaning

Air Duct Cleaning VS. Air Duct Sealing & Replacement

Having your air ducts cleaned or sealed is a great way to improve the air quality in your home, reduce energy costs and ensure that your system is functioning properly.

The cost of having your air ducts cleaned can vary depending on the size and scope of your home, while the cost of having them sealed or replaced will depend on the region you live in.

We recommend contacting local HVAC professionals in order to get an accurate estimate for their services. They'll be able to assess the complexity of your system before giving you a more precise cost.

If you have any additional questions about air duct cleaning or sealing, please don't hesitate to reach out! We are always happy to help. It's our Thomas Promise!