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Why air duct cleaning is a great business opportunity for HVAC Contractors

Posted by Peter Haugen on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 @ 11:44 AM

  dirty duct   clean duct

Many HVAC Contractors are looking for ways to expand and grow their business.  It makes sense to consider a service that has good long term potential, a service that compliments your existing services, a service that is not difficult to enter and a service that offers good profitability.  Air duct cleaning is just such a service. 

The concern and need for good indoor air quality and better energy efficiency will probably never go away so the market for air duct cleaning should remain strong for a long time.  Air duct cleaning is a natural partner or extension of HVAC system installation, service and maintenance.  Air duct cleaning offers many benefits to the HVAC Contractor including:

  • Excellent gross margins (40% to 60%)
  • Significant add-on revenues from existing customers.
  • Identifying potential HVAC retrofit customers and generate new equipment and service sales.
  • Help sell other related products.
  • Generate revenues during slow times of the year.

There is probably no one more qualified than the HVAC Contractor to perform air duct cleaning services:

  • They already have extensive knowledge of the HVAC system and have the skill set to clean all of the components in the HVAC system. (For example, some contractors do not clean coils because they do not have the skills to deal with the refrigerant.)
  • There is not a better or easier time to clean HVAC system than when they are changing out a furnace or air handler. 
  • If the HVAC Contractor has been subbing this service out to someone else, they will have better control over scheduling, quality control and profitability if they do the work themselves. 
  • HVAC Contractors already have the business and marketing systems in place so adding another service is relatively easy.

There are many questions HVAC contractors have regarding air duct cleaning.  Some of these are:

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Air duct cleaning is more than cleaning air ducts.  A more appropriate term to use would be “HVAC system cleaning.”  The HVAC system includes everything in the air stream.  The goal is to remove all of the accumulated dirt, debris and other contamination found in the system.  This is called source removal.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) has developed a list of basic cleaning tasks for residential air duct cleaning.  This list includes the following activities:

  • Visual inspection before and after cleaning.
  • Remove, clean and replace supply registers and return grilles.
  • Clean supply ductwork and plenum.
  • Clean return ductwork and plenum.
  • Install access openings as needed and reseal after cleaning.
  • Clean blower motor and assembly.
  • Clean air steam side of heat exchanger.
  • Clean secondary heat exchanger.
  • Clean evaporator coil and drain pan.
  • Wash air cleaner
  • Replace air filter.

In addition many Contractors also offer:

  • System sanitizing.
  • Dryer vent cleaning.
  • Installation of UV lights

What equipment is needed?

In generic terms a typical air duct cleaning equipment package will include:

  • Vacuum collection system
  • Agitation/cleaning tools 
    • Power brushing system(s)
    • Air whip system(s)
    • Air washing tools
  • Air compressor
  • HEPA filtered wet/dry vacuum
  • Duct accessing tools and service panels 
  • Visual inspection system
  • Sanitizer and fogger, coil cleaner, etc.
  • Personnel safety equipment
  • Miscellaneous items (hand tools, ladders, drop cloths, etc.).
  • Plus you may need a truck or trailer to transport the equipment.

What does it cost to get into air duct cleaning?

The cost to get into air duct cleaning will be determined by the type of air duct cleaning you want to offer (residential or commercial or both), the type of equipment you select and the level of cleaning and services you want to offer.  For residential air duct cleaning costs start at $5,600 and for commercial air duct cleaning costs start at $10,000.  Equipment suppliers can typically give you several options to choose from that will best fit your needs and budget.


Air duct cleaning offers many benefits to the HVAC Contractor that can help to expand and strengthen their business.  With the HVAC system knowledge and existing business/marketing systems in place it’s an easy add-on.  For more information request our Residential Air Duct Cleaning Guidelines and/or our Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Guideline or contact Peter Haugen at phaugen@vacsysint.com or 800-597-3955 or 952-808-1619.   

Tags: air duct cleaning, business opportunity, HVAC Contractors