air duct cleaning cost per square foot

$40 Per Vent

The cost to have your HVAC air ducts cleaned largely depends on how many supply and return ducts you have in the home. An average sized 3 bedroom home will cost around $420, and this will include the dryer vent as well.

Average Cost of HVAC Duct Cleaning

The average cost of duct cleaning is $420 for a 3-br home. The cost is based on the average cost of $40 per vent and duct run. For most homes, the total cost is $275 to $650 with an average of $420.

For a local pro near you to clean your HVAC ducts, specialized tools are often needed that prohibit a homeowner from doing the job themselves.

Average Do It Yourself cost

Not Recommended

Average Contractor Cleaning Cost


Typical Cost Range

$275 – $650

Last Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2022

Overview of Central HVAC Ducts and The Importance of Duct Cleaning

Your ductwork is connected to your central HVAC furnace or air handler. Supply ducts carry treated air (air that has been heated or air conditioned) to living spaces. These are most commonly called vents, as the grill mounts to walls, ceilings and floors, and air blows out of them and into the room. Return ducts bring “spent” air back to the air handler to be heated or cooled again, and are most easily identified by having filters.

Duct cleaning is a way to ensure that allergens and other pollutants are removed from the air you breathe. This is important because the EPA has identified indoor air pollution as a major health risk. When ducts get old or too degraded to be cleaned, they need to be replaced. Check our HVAC duct replacement costs Costimate for more information.

This cost estimate, or Costimate, gives accurate duct cleaning costs and factors that will help you know what to expect when you get estimates. Potential “extras” and their costs are included. Duct cleaning prices from other estimate sites round out the picture along with actual costs submitted by readers. Feel free to return to Business Finance News to share your costs.

Related Cost Estimates

Duct Cleaning Service Cost Details

Cost Factors

Most homeowners pay between $35 and $50 per supply vent. Where your cost will fall on that spectrum depends on the factors below. But first you should know about scams in the duct cleaning market as well.

Beware of low-cost estimates! Before we cover the factors, just a word of warning. Some unethical companies advertise cheap duct cleaning, but they intend to find ways to upcharge you once they are in your home. Common tactics include exaggerating the amount of mold found or giving you the hard sell on treatments or equipment you don’t need.

We recommend getting multiple HVAC duct cleaning cost estimates and discussing with each company what exactly they intend to do when cleaning. Check out their online reviews to see what other consumers have said about how the company treats customers.

Here are the duct cleaning cost factors:

  • Number of Vents – The number of supply ducts and vents you have is the largest cost factor in price estimates.
  • What is Cleaned – Basic duct cleaning includes the supply plenum, cold air return connection, ductwork and air vents. More comprehensive cleaning includes the air handler or furnace and it’s components — condensate drip pan, blower fan and indoor AC coil.
  • Size of the Home – It’s possible for a 1,500 square feet home to have the same number of vents as a 2,500 sq. ft. home. However, the linear feet of ductwork is greater in the larger home, so cost will be higher.
  • Duct Material – Flexible ductwork is more susceptible to damage, so it must be treated more carefully than sheet metal. As a result, cost is often higher.
  • Air Handler Location – During the cleaning, the supply and return connections to the air handler will be cleaned. When the air handler is in an attic or crawlspace, cleaning is more difficult and therefore more expensive.
  • Mold – If mold is found, and it is severe, cleaning cost could be higher than the ranges we’ve included.
  • Time of Year – Duct cleaners are more likely to offer discounts when demand is low – often in late Winter and late Summer.
  • Local Cost of Living – Like every other service, duct cleaning costs more in the Northeast and Northwest plus Alaska and Hawaii. Costs are lowest in rural areas of the Midwest and South. They are average most other places.

Having your HVAC ducts cleaned is recommended by the EPA if they’ve been infested with rodents, if mold has been found in them or if they are clogged with excessive debris.

Note on Mold: If you have mold, an HVAC professional should determine why it formed and alleviate the cause before the ducts are cleaned. Otherwise, the mold will return. The cause is often a poorly designed HVAC system or equipment of the wrong size.

Cost of Extras

As noted, mold is a serious problem. If you’re told that mold exists, ask for visual evidence.

  • $0.10-$0.12 (10-12 cents) per square feet | Mold removal

If your goal is to clean everything that comes in contact with circulating air, then you should consider having your furnace cleaned and tuned too.

  • $80 – $150 | Furnace Cleaning of the blower fan, heat exchanger and AC coil.

Some duct cleaning companies push the following services as necessary. Others say they are a waste of money – or worse, potentially harmful.

  • $200 – $500 | Chemical Biocide Treatment used to kill biological contaminants.
  • $225 – $600 | Sealant use to coat the inside surfaces of ductwork to hold dust and contaminants in place, preventing them from being blown into your home.
  • $400 – $1,000 | Ozone-type Air Purifier designed to kill airborne bacteria and viruses.
  • $450 – $700 | UV Germicidal Light also designed to kill airborne biological contaminants.

Before you agree to any of these, the EPA says, “There remains considerable controversy over the necessity and wisdom of introducing chemical biocides or ozone into the duct work… Research has not demonstrated their effectiveness [including sealants] in duct cleaning or their potential adverse health effects.”

Permits, Inspection, and Labor Costs

  • $0 | Duct cleaning does not require a permit.

Duct Cleaning Labor Cost

Most duct cleaning companies charge a flat fee based on the factors listed above. They don’t charge hourly rates, but they certainly consider how long the job will take when writing an estimate.

Cleaning Time

Duct cleaning time depends on the size of your home. Most companies send a two-person crew.

  • 1.5-3 Hours | Homes up to 1,500 sq. ft.
  • 2-4 Hours | Homes 1,500-2,000 sq. ft.
  • 3-6 Hours | Homes 2,000-3,500 sq. ft.

DIY or Hire a Pro

Very few homeowners clean their own air ducts.

Avoid this common mistake: Some DIY enthusiasts buy a dryer vent cleaning kit, which comes up in a search for duct cleaning kits, and think it is designed for ductwork. It won’t do the job.

The cost of duct cleaning equipment is more than $1,500 for the vacuum, hoses and cleaning heads. Since duct cleaning isn’t regular maintenance but is only recommended when needed (rodents, mold, unusually heavy amounts of debris), buying the equipment isn’t cost-effective.

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