The home improvement industry is abundant with scammers. Many houses possess intimidating repair and maintenance needs that the average homeowner would rather not, or cannot, take on themselves because of their complexities. Unfortunately, scam artists are well aware of this and will take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners who don’t do their homework prior to getting work done.

In an effort to help homeowners combat scams in the air duct cleaning industry, NADCA, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, launched the Breathing Clean initiative. Breathing Clean is dedicated to educating homeowners about the importance of air duct cleaning along with proper cleaning methods and how they can avoid falling prey to fraudulent air duct cleaning companies.

Courtesy of Breathing Clean, here are a few of the most common air duct cleaning scams and ways homeowners can avoid falling victim to them.

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Common Air Duct Cleaning Scams

ir duct being lightly brushed with a paint brushBlow-and-go

There are many scammers in the industry that offer low-priced “blow-and-go” services. Typically, these companies schedule many appointments in one day, allowing just enough time to clean what you can see, leaving behind dirt, dust, and microbes in the air you breathe. These companies do a poor job of cleaning heating and cooling systems and may also persuade a homeowner to pay for unneeded services with or without their permission.

Bait-and-switch

The “bait-and-switch” technique is another common air duct cleaning scam. This occurs when you’re offered an amazing deal by coupon or over the phone. Once the company arrives for the scheduled appointment, they’ll perform minimal work, tell you that you need more, and continue to offer you service upgrades for additional fees.

Some scammers even use scare tactics to get homeowners to pay more for subpar services. Unfortunately, even when you commit to the upsells, you are still not going to get quality work.

Mold 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. Then, during the air duct cleaning and “inspection” process, the contractor will make false claims about finding mold in the home, charging thousands of dollars for a service that isn’t needed.

If a contractor tells you they found mold, put a hold on the job before agreeing to get work done. Then, either call a different company for a second opinion or contact a licensed mold assessor to get it evaluated.

How to Protect Yourself Against Air Duct Cleaning Scams

alt tag: Air vent in the floor of a modern homeThe 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 out there 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?”

The following tips can help you avoid falling prey to air duct cleaning scams:

1. Watch out for red flags

Say no to deals asking for all cash up front, too-good-to-be-true prices, high-pressure sales tactics, and agreements without a signed contract. Be wary of companies whose bids are far lower than other companies, as it might be a sign they don’t intend on completing the work and are looking for the upsell.

2. Do your research

A scammer doesn’t want you to do your homework. Arm yourself with information by verifying credentials and asking for proof of insurance and licenses.

3. Hire a 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? HVAC technicians who are certified by NADCA, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, 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 don’t live in one of the metro areas served by Best Pick Reports, visit the Find a Professional page on NADCA’s website to start searching for a certified air duct cleaning professional in your area.

Breathing Clean was developed by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), as a consumer-facing initiative dedicated to educate homeowners about the benefits of air duct cleaning and the importance of hiring a NADCA member company to do the job. The initiative was created in support of NADCA's Anti-Fraud Task Force, which works to combat scammers and fraudulent companies within the air duct cleaning industry, offering deals that are too good to be true. Through breathingclean.com, homeowners have access to a special portal of information guiding them through the air duct cleaning process from how to hire a reputable company to making sure the job is done right.

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