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How Much Does Air Duct Cleaning Cost After a Fire?

If you recently experienced a house fire, you’re probably up to your eyeballs in dealing with insurance, ordering repairs, and dealing with all the smoke damage. But here’s something important you may not be considering: if you have a ducted AC system, you might want to get your duct system cleaned.

Getting your ductwork cleaned can be expensive and time-intensive, so it’s important to know what factors go into pricing, when to order cleaning, and how fire damage can impact that decision.

Average Air Duct Cleaning Cost

The EPA has somewhat conflicting answers to the question of how often to get your air ducts cleaned – and if you should get them cleaned at all. On the one hand, the EPA says that homeowners should “commit to a preventative maintenance program of yearly inspections” of their AC systems, which can easily lead to cleaning.

On the other hand, they also say that the particle buildup in these vents won’t likely ever get to the point that it can contaminate and negatively impact the air you breathe. Unless, of course, mold has started to grow.

This is just one factor that can affect the cost of air duct cleaning, in addition to factors like how bad the fire damage is, how much of the vent is damaged, the type of duct you have, and more. But generally, prices range between $400 and $1000 for a full cleaning.

Air Duct Cleaning Cost Factors

Degree of Fire and Smoke Damage

The National Fire Protection Association documented that in 2021, there were 1.35 million house fires reported in the United States that caused a total of $15.9 billion in damage.

The dangers of house fires are obvious and extreme, but it’s the cleanup process after the flames that will have you despairing. The cost of your air duct cleaning will depend largely on how badly the fire damaged your ductwork.

Did the flames tickle the roof, or did they blast through the AC system? That is more likely if the AC was running when the fire broke out, but this factor is crucial in determining cost.

Smoke

Other Damage or Contamination

Once the cleaners clear away the smoke and fire damage, the cleaning job may not be over. Under that, they may find all sorts of other damage.

The biggest thing you have to worry about is mold. Mold only needs two things to grow: moisture and air. Because air duct systems get so much airflow, they’re a perfect place for mold to grow. If mold is found inside your ductwork, the price will creep up.

Size of Ductwork

This one is fairly straightforward. Do you need a full cleaning of the ductwork of your three-story mansion, or your one-bedroom apartment?

How expansive your ductwork is will determine the cost of its cleaning. Air duct cleaning professionals often charge by the square footage of your duct system — you can get an idea of how much it costs by multiplying the number of ducts you see in your home by $35.

Labor

Each cleaning company is going to charge a different rate for labor. The price will vary depending on how expansive the system is and how long it takes them to complete the job.

Labor costs also include inspection, so try to get a good sense of the scope of the damage before you call in professional help.

Accessibility

Ductwork can be designed easily, meaning it has a dedicated “entrance” for cleaning purposes either in the basement or the attic, or the hard way, meaning it wasn’t designed with easy access points.

The cost of your cleaning job will go up if the ducts are harder to access. Not just because the job is harder, but because it’ll take longer to pull off.

Vermin

Mice, rats, and other creepy crawlies love to scurry around ductwork. They make cleaners’ jobs harder, and they leave behind excrement and scratches that can damage ductwork, meaning more repairs are being added to your bill.

It’s a good idea to have someone check your residence for vermin semi-regularly so that you don’t incur these damages later on.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

It’s a personal decision about how often you should clean your air ducts. But a safe estimate would be approximately once a year.

Over a year, lots of particle buildup can occur in ducts. That can include dust, pollen, dander, and even mold. As mold spreads and grows, it spreads its spores. And if those spores are sprouting up inside the ductwork, they’re being circulated all over the residence and can cause coughing, wheezing, rashes, and eye problems.

Even if it isn’t every year, ensure you get your ductwork cleaned regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Worth the Money To Clean Air Ducts?

It is worth the money to clean your air ducts. Allergens like pollen, mold spores, mildew, bacteria, and even viruses can build up in ductwork and then spread throughout your residence.

If you find yourself coughing and sneezing in your own home, it’s a sign that it’s definitely worth the money to have your duct system cleaned.

Are Dirty Air Ducts a Fire Hazard?

One of the leading causes of fire is clogged dryer vents. While these aren’t part of the AC duct system, they provide a solid illustration of how important it is to maintain cleanliness in your duct system.

Need Help? Contact the Professionals

All Dry USA provides incredible, 24/7 fire and smoke damage. From cleaning your ductwork to restoring the quality of your furniture, wallpaper, and carpeting after heavy smoke damage, All Dry USA is the professional service you need if you’re in Florida, New York, Texas, or North Carolina.

Ben Suiskind
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