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How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost?

Typical Cost Range: $450 – $1,000

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Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 02/14/2024

If you have a ducted air conditioner, dust and debris can build up over time in the hidden ductwork that runs through your home. The average cost of air duct cleaning for a residential building is between $450 and $1,000, according to the EPA and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). The cost largely depends on your system’s size, which may be measured in square footage or by the number of vents. We’ll discuss when you should have your air ducts cleaned and break down the cost of hiring an air duct cleaning service below.

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Typical Cost Range: $450 – $1,000
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Air Duct Cleaning

The average cost of air duct cleaning for a residential building is between $450 and $1,000.

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Worker installs ventilation grille on the wall.
Air Duct Repair/Replacement

The average cost of duct repair or replacement can range from $1,450–$8,000.

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Annual HVAC Maintenance

HVAC maintenance typically costs $75–$200 annually.

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What Are Signs You Should Clean Your Air Ducts?

Professional HVAC system cleaners sometimes make exaggerated claims about the health benefits of their services. According to the EPA, “Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts.” Simply put, if particles are stuck to the walls of the air ducts, they’re unlikely to come out of the vent or affect your health.
Pollutants are more likely to come from other sources. If reducing allergens and other contaminants is your goal, you should invest in an air purifier with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or have one installed in your ductwork. Keep up with your regular HVAC maintenance, too. If your air conditioner isn’t cooling properly, the culprit is more likely a clogged filter than a dirty duct.
That said, the EPA recommends duct cleaning “as needed,” notably in the cases of visible mold on duct surfaces, rodent or insect infestation, or visible dust particles discharging from vents. Additionally, you can slightly improve your air conditioning system’s performance by having the heating and cooling components cleaned. These include the evaporator coil, blower, and heat exchanger. If you’re going to hire a professional air duct cleaning service, make sure they address these components.

What Is The Average Cost of Air Duct Cleaning by System Size?

Here are the average air duct cleaning costs based on your system’s size, which is measured in either square footage or vent number.

Air Duct Cleaning Cost by Square Footage

Duct cleaning professionals often have a set price per square foot. Some companies offer a basic package for homes up to a certain size and charge additional fees for anything larger. Prices average 20 to 40 cents per square foot. Beware of potential air duct cleaning scams: If a company quotes you a suspiciously low price, it may tack on extra fees for cleaning air handlers, fans, coils, grilles, registers, drip pans, and other duct system components.

Home SizeCost

1,200 sq. ft.

$240–$480

1,500 sq. ft.

$300–$600

2,000 sq. ft.

$400–$800

2,500 sq. ft.

$500–$1,000

3,000 sq. ft.

$600–$1,200

Air Duct Cleaning Cost by Number of Vents

Some professional duct cleaners measure system size by the number of vents. Supply vents typically cost $25–$50 each to clean, and return vents usually cost $40–$75 each. Be wary if an air duct cleaning company offers you an extremely low per-vent price: The fine print may include a whole-house flat fee that isn’t disclosed until after the cleaners have arrived at your home.

Number of VentsCost

8

$230–$450

12

$330–$650

16

$445–$875

20

$560–$1,100


Pros and Cons of Air Duct Cleaning Services

More thorough cleaning than you could do yourself
Quick and minimally disruptive
Will slightly improve your home’s energy efficiency and indoor air quality
Expensive
Unproven health benefits

What Are Air Duct Cleaning Cost Factors?

The above costs cover basic cleaning for HVAC ducts and air vents, but the following complications and contamination may increase your price:

  • Rodents: Rats or other vermin will need to be exterminated before HVAC cleaners can clean the air ducts.
  • Mold and mildew: Toxic mold will likely require remediation beyond a simple duct cleaning.
  • Dryer vents: Dryer vents, which remove excess heat from your dryer to prevent fires, must be unclogged regularly. Clogged vents may result in extra cleaning costs.
  • Accessibility: Any obstacles that substantially increase the time it takes to access or clean the ducts may increase costs.

Air Duct Cleaning Cost for Rodents

Rats, mice, and other pests can chew through ductwork and begin living in your cooling system. Since rodent droppings pose a potential health hazard, you should deal with the infestation right away. If air duct cleaners spot signs of a rodent infestation, you’ll need to call an exterminator before they can proceed. Rodent control usually costs $170–$520, but it may be more expensive if the infestation is severe.

Air Duct Cleaning Cost for Mold and Mildew

In terms of both health risks and air duct cleaning prices, there’s a big difference between simple mildew and hazardous mold. Some fungal growth sheds dangerous spores that can cause serious respiratory problems. The process of eradicating this mold and ensuring it doesn’t grow back is called mold remediation. You’ll need to hire a special contractor for this and will likely pay upwards of $2,000–$6,000.

The good news is that only a few types of mold are this toxic; the bad news is that it’s almost impossible to tell by looking. If you spot mold or mildew, you should send a sample to a microbiology lab for testing, which costs $50–$100. If it isn’t toxic, or if it isn’t mold at all, you won’t need remediation. 

Note that air duct cleaning doesn’t remove all mold and mildew. Even sanitizing, which costs an extra $75–$150, uses antibacterial rather than antifungal chemicals. These chemicals don’t kill mold and may damage fiberglass ductwork.

Air Duct Cleaning Cost for Dryer Vents

Unlike air duct cleaning, which isn’t a necessary part of routine home maintenance, dryer vent cleaning must take place at least once a year. A clogged dryer vent increases the risk of a house fire and makes your clothes dryer less efficient. Air duct cleaners may include dryer vents as part of a whole-house cleaning, or they may charge $40–$100 extra. If you request only dryer vent cleaning, it will cost around $80–$180.

Air Duct Cleaning Cost by Accessibility

Professionals rarely charge by the hour for residential HVAC cleaning. However, you may be charged extra if something about your system substantially increases the time it takes for the air cleaners to do their work. For example, if there are difficult-to-access ducts or plenums (aka air distribution boxes) in attics or crawl spaces, or if your ductwork has a custom design. In rare cases, the level of contamination may increase the price as well.

Other Air Duct Cleaning Costs

Here are some other costs you may encounter when having your air ducts cleaned:

  • Annual air conditioner maintenance: $75–$200
  • Air conditioner repairs: $100–$1,300
  • Duct repair/replacement: $130–$550
  • Furnace cleaning: $60–$150
  • Visual air duct inspection: $80–$180
  • Video inspection: $200–$500

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How To Save on Air Duct Cleaning

One of the easiest ways to save money on air duct cleaning is to decrease the amount of dust and debris getting into your ductwork in the first place. Keeping up with necessary HVAC maintenance is key, along with the following steps:
Change your air filter: Consult with the filter’s manufacturer on whether you should do this every 30, 60, or 90 days. If the filter appears clogged when you remove it, change it more often.
Vacuum regularly: For maximum benefit, use the highest-rated filter bag that your vacuum can work with.
Keep moisture out: Repair leaks or water damage as soon as possible, and make sure ducts remain sealed and insulated.
Schedule annual HVAC maintenance: This should include careful inspection of the system and cleaning of the drain pan and heating/cooling coils.

Should You DIY vs. Professional Air Duct Cleaning?

Motivated homeowners can do some light air duct cleaning themselves. You’ll need the following items:

  • Shop vacuum
  • Extension hose
  • Power drill
  • Nylon bristle brush
  • Dryer vent cleaning brush with extendable handle

Once you’ve secured the equipment, take the following steps to complete do-it-yourself (DIY) air duct cleaning:

  1. Remove and clean the grilles.
  2. Inspect the ducts for buildup. 
  3. Attach the vent cleaning brush to the power drill and use it to break up any debris.
  4. Vacuum up debris with the shop vac.

Note: If you need to rent or buy the drill or shop vac, you can do this for about $50–$100.

Unfortunately, this method will only clean about 10 feet into each vent. Commercial duct cleaning equipment, such as negative air pressure machines and duct whips, are rarely available to rent, and they’re expensive to buy. The advantage of hiring a professional is that they’ll be able to do a faster, more thorough job, usually taking just a few hours.

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Is Air Duct Cleaning Worth It?

When considering air duct cleaning, note the difference between the vague benefits of cleaning the ducts themselves and the proven benefits of cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system’s working components. If you’re going to shell out the money for professional cleaning, ensure the contractors will clean the system’s functional parts. HVAC systems are expensive, and maintenance will keep your air conditioner running smoothly, far better than duct cleaning. You should also remember to clean your dryer vent at least once a year.

Get Estimates from Duct Cleaning Experts in Your Area
Typical Cost Range: $450 – $1,000

FAQs About Air Duct Cleaning Costs

How much does air duct cleaning cost?

Air duct cleaning costs between $450 and $1,000 on average, depending on your home’s size or the number of ducts.

How often should I have my air ducts cleaned?

How often you should have your air ducts cleaned depends on who you ask. While professional air duct cleaners suggest frequent servicing, the EPA doesn’t recommend regular cleaning for maintaining clean air. Instead, you should have ductwork cleaned if you notice mold, rodent infestation, or particles coming out of the vents.

Is air duct cleaning worth it?

Cleaning only the ductwork of an HVAC system doesn’t usually have an impact on airflow or air quality except under specific circumstances. Cleaning and maintaining the actual furnace or air conditioner will improve its efficiency and keep it running longer.

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