(NEWS CENTER) - No doubt about it... Keeping a home in tip-top shape takes a lot of time... Not to mention, a fair amount of money. With all the maintenance projects on a homeowner's list... Is it really necessary to add yet another... cleaning out the air ducts?

As we learn in this week's "Angie's List report"... It depends on what you hope to gain from it.

There are a couple of ways to tell if your air ducts are dirty.

Air Duct Cleaning Company owner Dave Adams says, "One of the easiest ways to find out is to take the vent cover off, stick a camera phone down there and take a picture. They are going to be able to see down the duct. Another sign is if the house is dusty a day or two after cleaning the house."

According to Angie's List... Getting your air ducts clean *will* make your heating system more efficient... But there is no scientific evidence that regular cleanings will improve air quality.

However... some consumers swear that when they have their ducts cleaned, they experience fewer allergy symptoms and cleaner air.

f you do decide to have your ducts cleaned, make sure you're are working with a reputable contractor.

Beware of bait-and-switch tactics that advertise an unbelievably low rate and then immediately start tacking on "up-charges" or using scare tactics.

Angie Hicks says "One of the more common things that we hear about with air duct cleaning comes down to pricing. It's important for consumers to get written in-home estimates because a lot of times air duct cleaning is based on either the square footage of the home or the number of vents. A typical air duct cleaning might cost anywhere from $300-$500. If you find you're being offered a really low price, you're going to want to question it."

Qualified air duct cleaners will follow strict standards set by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association.

Allowing an unqualified contractor to clean your ducts could be worse than not having them cleaned at all. More particles could be broken up and released into your home or your HVAC system could be damaged.

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