Midlothian home inspectorIn case you have been living under a rock for the last few years, a groupon is a coupon with an adrenaline shot. The Groupon website offers steep discounts on products and services from local businesses. Patrons purchase a voucher from Goupon, which usually has a time limit, that they can redeem from the business. Groupon makes it money by taking a cut of the already discounted fee. I think the idea is absurd, but 6 Billion dollars in sales says that not everyone agrees with me.

You can find good deals from businesses offering loss leader products or services to bring in new prospects (you) who they can convert to loyal customers.

One problem with Groupon is that it is the perfect “hook” for a classic “bait and switch” and some crooked businesses have mastered the craft. The worst deal on Groupon that you should absolutely avoid is the super cheap duct cleaning. You may find them offered for as low as $49, $69, $79, but as the old adage goes “if it sounds too good to be true…” A proper duct cleaning will cost $300-$500 or more depending on the number of air handlers, furnaces, and ducts in the home. It can take hours and the true professionals use expensive and specialized equipment. Groupon takes 50%, so how can a duct cleaning company profit on service fees as low as $25? They can’t.

After the technician arrives, he will perform an inspection on the ducts and then approach you with the terrible news. You have BLACK MOLD in your ducts. He may even have a “test” to show you.  Of course, the price you paid doesn’t include remediation of the mold, and the new price is in the ball park of $1100. We perform mold testing here in Richmond, and we use a third party laboratory  to analyze our samples. Not once have we ever found “black mold”. It is a term used to invoke fear, and fear sells. Some times they bring a fake mold test, and use language like “level 2 contamination.” It is just an attempt to sell you on a service you don’t need.

It is possible, and likely in fact that you probably have some mold in your ducts. Mold is omnipresent (it is everywhere.) When ever your duct cleaning technician approaches you with this news though and substantially increases the price, you should always get a second opinion. Your first step is to find someone who is not advertising such cheap duct cleaning prices.

If you are in Northern Virginia, we recommend Six Penny

If you are in Richmond, we recommend AdvantaClean