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Question DetailsAsked on 7/24/2012

Do you ever need to replace your air ducts because they are too dirty to clean properly?

We have had a problem with dust in our less than two year old house. We had someone come and inspect our air ducts to see if they needed to be cleaned. He inspected the air ducts and said that we had a lot of dust in our coils and air ducts. He said the most likely reason for the amount of dust is that the builder ran the a/c unit without air filters in place. He recommended that we clean the coil, remove and clean the blower and replace at least 25 air ducts. He recommended replacing the air ducts rather than cleaning them because the air ducts were made of plastic and they were difficult to clean properly. The estimated cost is $10,455 but could be more if more air ducts need to be replaced. The cost looks unreasonable but I want to make sure the problem is fixed.

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2 Answers


For any big job like yours, we suggest getting second opinons, and detailed estimates, from more than one qualified contractor. Air ducts are a very popular topic, and we've posted several articles on, including warning signs of bad companies, a graphic about what to look for and, most pertinent to you, replacing air filters versus cleaning the air ducts.


Answered 8 years ago by HughV


Came across this question very late of course, but could not resist putting my two bits in.

Unless the house is inordinately large AND all surfaces are finished so the job would require (and include in the bid) the repair of wall and ceiling surfaces and repainting after tearing into them do run new ducts, that quoted price is ludicrous - a normal COMPLETE house reduct job would run on the order of a third to half that amount depending on accessibility of the ducts. However, since you said 25 air ducts and more if more need to be replaced, then it sounds like you have an absolute mansion so that might be a reasonable cost. Can't tell, because the normal house has maybe 10-20 room ducts (feed and returns totalled) coming off the main runs, so if you have more than 25 ducts then maybe more reasonable, but still seems very high regardless unless all installation hole repair and painting is included.

While flex ducts do have more airflow friction so require a more powerful blower (or booster fans) to achieve the same airflow, are a pain to clean and, especially if corrugated interior surface rather than smooth, will catch a lot more dust (which as long as it does not cause blockage ironically results in cleaner air to the house because the ducts are catching it), except when the ducts are disturbed in maintenance or earthquake and the accumulated dust layar breaks free. However, they do tear easily - sometimes under their own weight if not properly supported and as the plastic deteriorates with age, and also in cleaning, and do require only air jet rather than brush cleaning (which tears them), which is somewhat less effective.

However, if properly installed (no openings or significant kinks), dust buildup is not reason by itself to replace them - you just need a contractor with an airjet cleaner with the pressure properly adjusted so it does not cut through them, and hopefully with a built-in camera and light so you can actually see how well the work is being done. Properly done, the cleaning probe is fed in to the ducts while in cleaning mode for a rough cleaning, then withdrawn gradually while cleaning so you can see with the camera any skipped spots that need to be blasted a bit more.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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