bug feces

November 5, 2008

We had the duct cleaners up yesterday. Kim had a coupon that said for $99 they would clean our ducts, up to 10 ducts and 1 return vent. I love the word “ducts.”

Turns out we have 15 ducts and 4 return vents. And two furnaces.

They showed up and spent 10 minutes bringing in equipment. Then while his henchman was cleaning the ducts, head guy brought me the “estimate.”

But. But. My coupon said they would clean the ducts for $99.

He smiled. And showed me huge pictures of horrible looking alien bugs that both populated and fouled my ducts. “It’s not the bugs that are the problem” he said. “It’s their FECES.”

And he showed me the estimate. $4,100.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

He didn’t smile. You see, we have vents, and mains, and two furnaces, and lots of bug feces in our ducts. Each 10 foot section of “main” would cost over $100 to cut into and clean and reseal.

Also, here, buy these $499 (each) ultraviolet lights that sit above your AC coils and kill 99.99% of the microbes coming off your coils.

And here’s a $150 filter for your furnaces. You need 2 of them.




So he calls his boss. “He doesn’t want it. He just wants the special where we clean his ducts.”

Whispering into the phone.

“What if we gave you the most serious stuff, worth $2,000, for $1700?”


Whispering into the phone.

“What if we gave you the absolute necessities, worth $1500, for $700?”

Dude. The Special. $99. That’s IT. Just clean my ducts!

“Okay then. We’re done. We finished the ducts already.”

It took them 20 minutes to pack everything up and put all the vent covers back on. In fact, it took about 10 MORE minutes to unload and load their gear than to actually clean the ducts.

I looked at the bill he left me, with all the “REJECTED” notes next to the litany of services I had declined. In the Office Notes section he had written:

“Cleaned ducts. Ducts will RECONTAMINATE. We are NOT responsible for the RECONTAMINATION.”

I may have to move to a house with fewer ducts. And no bug feces.


13 Responses to “bug feces”

  1. Mike in Fremont Says:

    Sounds like a TOTAL scam!!! I have my ducts cleaned every year and I have never heard of such nonsense.


  2. Jeff Says:

    That sounds shady. Get a second opinion.

    We had something similar with our sprinklers. The first guy we brought in wanted to give us a $3000 upgrade. The second guy replaced a sprinkler head for less than $100 and our problem was solved.

  3. mark Says:

    I thought you were never moving.

    How deep is the snow in your yard? 32″ at Alta since yesterday.

    Rachel will be looking at houses in the neighborhood tomorrow. Will I need a snowblower?

  4. fish Says:

    My favorite part was, “Ducts will recontaminate.” Really? Things that you clean occasionally because they get dirty will eventually get dirty again?

    If this guy was a carpet cleaner and you turned down the extra 4,000 worth of services he’d also warn you that your carpets will get dirty again.

  5. KanyonKris Says:

    Way to hold the line with that conman. I hate high pressure sales – sometimes I just endure it, other times I walk away, but I keep waiting for the time when I snap and tell the schmuck off or stab a pen into his larynx (that’ll shut him up).

    Living with bug feces isn’t so bad. It’s green, you know.

  6. Mocougfan Says:

    Buy some mice. They’ll eat the bugs.

  7. Rob Says:

    You know you’re now labeled as “difficult” amongst all of the duct cleaners now. Like Elaine with the doctors. You’ll be painting eyebrows on Uncle Leo to get a duct guy to see you when the ducts finally “recontaminate”

  8. steve Says:

    You’re my hero!! Don’t forget to get a cat to keep the bug eating mice population under control. If you attach a flame thrower to their tails you can decontaminate those ducts in a hurry. I have a black light that should work on the AC coils. I went to a master guard fire prevention demonstration/dinner. They WEREN’T selling anything that night but scared you into believing your house was going up in flames any time now and you can’t put a price on safety. Well they did put a price on it and we also had to decline.

  9. Jen Says:

    Hey maybe you should start a new business … husbands for hire! You can show up at houses when a service call is being made and be the “no” man! I might have caved at $700, because I hate bugs and bug feces is even worse!

  10. bikemike Says:


  11. Bander Says:

    Don’t worry about the bug feces. What they were showing you was probably pictures of dust mites, which are rarely found in Utah due to the low humidity.
    Also the $99 coupon is just a scam, few homes (as you found) meet the conditions of the coupon, so they get you with that price but then they have to charge you more.

  12. BUD Says:

    Hey, just catching up on your blogs. Funny stuff. I experienced the same exact thing at our house in Pittsburgh, but with a little different result. I kept saying no like you did, and I tried to just say no to the whole thing. But then the guy told me that he had to do something because he was there to work, not just give a quote. So then he said he would hook me up with some stuff he had in the back of the truck and that I could just pay him cash. He told me I couldn’t tell the office what happened though. So I said, and what would happen if I did? He said, “well, I know where you live…” And he was a big dude. So I actually got into his van to go to the ATM, because Rachel had the car and I had no cash, and came back to the house. Then he did some sort of cleaning and sealing thing for the ducts. I don’t remember what I paid him, but I have never felt so violated. Sometimes I wish I was big and strong and could intimidate people. But I’m not, so I got worked. I’m not much of a coupon guy anymore. Too scared.

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