HVAC company warns of rise in duct cleaning service scams

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – Air conditioning has always been a staple in Las Vegas, as evidenced by temperatures of over 110 degrees continuing through early September, meaning HVAC companies have always had a heavy workload on their plates.

Bob’s Repair workers, however, have sounded the alarm, saying underhanded business tactics have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic to overburden customers seeking to have their systems deep-cleaned.

“It’s literally the oldest trick in the book,” manager JC Pauli said.

Pauli said the trick starts when companies offer incredibly low rates for cleaning.

“Awesome, $5 per vent, we’ll clean your whole house for $75.”

Pauli said the company would then flip the script when they arrived, claim the problem was much worse than expected, and raise the price by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

“All of a sudden you have mold in your vents,” he said, “bacteria that you didn’t know about, or there’s 15 different products that you didn’t need, or else all your family will die.”

Pauli said the targets are usually gullible seniors who don’t know the standard market rates or how the process is completed.

“Insider secret, your vents are always dirty,” he said. “You write it down and say look at Mrs. Jones. Look at all the bacteria. They write it down. There’s all kinds of stuff they do.”

Pauli said duct cleaning in most three- to five-bedroom homes should take between two and four hours and cost between four and seven hundred dollars.

Bob’s Repair owner Fred Pradecki said there was a lot of work involved in the process.

“We’re going to seal every duct,” Prandecki said, holding up a duct-cleaning machine. “We’re going to tie that on our back by creating negative air pressure removing all the dust and particles, and after that we’re going to take a different machine and clean every air duct.”

He feared similar scams would become more common as temperatures drop, people turn on their radiators and start to feel their filthy ducts getting hot.

Pauli said customers should always make sure their technician is licensed by the state of Nevada and certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association.

He added that while a customer is never sure what deal they’re getting, a second opinion on a cleaning is never a bad idea.

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