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by Alliance Environmental · March 20, 2009

Shopping the Competition

If you are searching for an air duct cleaning specialist, you have probably noticed the ads that for companies advertising a remarkably low price of $49.  Many customers have voiced concerns regarding Alliance Environmental’s pricing, as our fees are significantly higher.  Many times we immediately lose an opportunity to service air duct cleaning projects without being given a chance to offer a defense or explanation for why our costs are higher.  That is exactly why we are writing this blog.  Alliance wants consumers to be aware of the schemes that many “air duct cleaning specialists” (or so they claim) are pulling on the innocent.

We conducted our own experiment to find out first-hand what these companies are really offering for their advertised price. Larry - one of our air duct cleaning estimators - invited one of the companies offering a $49 air duct cleaning special into his own home to see how this company could possibly clean his ducts properly for $49.

This is his report:

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Undisclosed company quoted me a price for $49.00 to clean all my air ducts. 

The sales representative showed up late and ask me a few questions:
* Ask about allergies;
* Asks about pets in the house;
* Asks about how often I change my filter.

I told him my system was 5 to 6 years old and I had never had my ducts cleaned.

The entire conversation took less than 4 minutes.  In the end, the sales representative told me:
* That my ducts are still brand new;
* That cleaning the air-ducts would be pointless;
* That takes up to 20 years for ducts to get dirty.

He told me all this with out examining my air ducts.

The end result is that he recommended changing my filter, and even offered to sell me one.  He offered to sell a washable, allergen-free filter (a Go Green Product) for $119.99.

We pulled my filter out of the ceiling return register.  The filter and the return supply were both dirty and needed to be cleaned.  I pointed out that the need for cleaning contributed to the dirtiness of the return air flow.  He responded that all I needed to do is purchase a filter and clean it once a month.  He attested that - if I were to follow this procedure - the quality of my air would be great.

He did mention to me that he manufactures all of his own filters, as well as the fact that he only allocated 20 minutes to both (a) inspect my air ducts and (b) provide an estimate.

So at this point, I ask:

“If my return filter is dirty and my return air-supply is dirty, wouldn’t my blower and air ducts also be dirty?”

His response: “Blowers take a very long time to get dirty.  I have never seen a dirty blower.”

I requested that he examine my FAU blower.  After inspecting the blower, he informed me that:
* My blower was the dirtiest he has ever seen;
* My blower looked to be 10+ years old.

I requested a quote for cleaning the blower.  $249.99.  I asked for a quote to clean the Return Air Supply. $129.99.  I requested a quote to clean the Filter.  $119.99.d

As he was leaving, I noticed that he only had a standard Shop Vac in his car.  Any professional air duct cleaner knows that this piece of equipment will not suffice for comprehensive air duct cleaning.  So how was he going to clean my ducts?

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This company came to the property with the false notion that they were going to clean Larry’s air ducts but their intention was never to do so. They didn’t even have the proper equipment in their vehicle to clean air ducts. We later found out that they are a distributor of air filters and their selling techniques include selling you on the fact that your air ducts do not need to be cleaned you just need a new air filter.

Here are a few tips to help you find a certified contractor for air duct cleaning:

1. Make sure they are NADCA Certified
2. Make sure they have a California State Contractor License.
3. Ensure that all costs are included in the estimate and there are no hidden fees.
4. Do not hesitate to ask for referrals with phone numbers from customers they have done business with before.

You can find additional information from NADCA on how to select a residential air duct cleaning contractor.
http://www.nadca.com/consumerinformation/selectresidentialcontractor.aspx

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