Is Air Duct Cleaning a Scam?

I have met homeowners who believe air ducts need to be cleaned regularly.  I am sure it doesn’t hurt to clean air ducts but it might not be necessary.

According to the EPA Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems. Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space.

However, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends air duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years.

If there are rodents in the air ducts or mold or some other air quality problem related to the air ducts they may need to be cleaned.

Air duct cleaning is sometimes sold along with furnace tune-ups. Furnace inspections and tune-ups should be part of yearly home maintenance. In most cases, duct cleaning is an optional add-on.

furnace collage
furnaces and boilers

The couple who wanted the loft

housesI rarely share details of transactions on this blog but today I am going to share. I’ll change the names and location to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful loft for sale. There were a few interested buyers. One couple saw the place three times. Their agent said he had an offer and he would send it at X time. The sellers were notified and standing by but the offer never came.  The buyer’s agent kept in touch and kept mentioning that there would be an offer but none came.

Then one day a near-perfect offer came along. Qualified buyers who were able to accommodate the owner’s preferred closing date and no contingencies. The owners of the beautiful loft immediately accepted the offer.

The other interested party found out and their agent called and told the listing agent that she was supposed to let the buyer’s agent know about any offers. The buyer’s agent never asked to be informed about offers and even if he had the sellers can decide not to share that information. They can ask their agent to not disclose the existence of other offers.

Bottom line a home can only be sold to one party and often several parties who wish to buy it. Homeowners only need one offer.  When a great offer comes along the seller can and should accept it. Home sellers are under no obligation to have their agent let interested parties know that there is an offer. 

The buyer’s agent claimed that he knows how things are done and that any other listing agent would have called to let him know about an offer. That had been his experience during his three years as a buyer’s agent.

Buyers planning to buy should make sure they are ready to buy before they start looking. Once the right property is identified it is time to make an offer. Waiting rarely works out. A buyer’s first offer should be his best offer. Agents should not repeatedly promise an offer before the buyers. When there is no offer the agent loses credibility with the listing agent and the sellers.

One universal truth about buying or selling residential real estate is that every situation, client, and home is unique. We have to be prepared for every kind of scenario and never make assumptions about what buyers or sellers will do. We expect the unexpected.

Agents should refrain from saying they are going to submit an offer unless they are sure. If an agent says they are going to do something at a particular time they should do it or at the very least call the other party and let them know what is going on instead of making them wait.

Kevin the white squirrel

White squirrels are kind of like the West 7th neighborhood mascot. They are all named Kevin. None of them come when they are called but they can be seen scampering up trees and of course, burying nuts.

There is even a bar on West 7th Street, at James Street named “The White Squirrel Bar”. The West 7th area has an abundance of bars and taprooms. It is a drinking destination for people who live in the Twin Cities.

Bar with Squirrel Muriel
The White Squirrel Bar


Record breaking home prices

HouseIn May 2024 median home prices in the US reached an all-time high of $419,300. Mortgage interest rates went down a little this month but are still high at 6.9%.


It is the lack of supply and the high demand that has driven prices up. Houses are still selling quickly and multiple offers are common but not as common as they were a year ago.

The number of homes on the market is up 18.5% from May 2023 according to the National Association of Realtors.

The people who are most likely to move this year are moving due to life events like job changes, the birth of a child, or a death.

For homeowners who want to sell this is a great time. There are more houses on the market this year than there were last year which makes moving easier.

It was more than a grocery store

Cooper’s grocery store on West 7th and St. Clair is closing permanently at the end of the month. I remember back when it was a County Club store.  We shopped there for decades. There has been a grocery store on the site for at least 45 years, maybe longer.

I have often walked or ridden my bike to Coopers. It was also a great place to run into neighbors; it was a common experience we shared as neighbors.

Neighborhood grocery stores are not as common as they once were. Big box stores have taken over. The closing of the neighborhood grocery store hurts the neighborhood and we all feel a sense of loss.

There are rumors of a new owner and of an Asian grocery store opening on the site but according to the owners, the store will close.

Cooper's Grocery
Cooper’s on West 7th in St. Paul
Cooper's sign
Painted by a local artist
Cooper's grocery
Cooper’s on West 7th


It is Friday and the trees are blooming

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It will likely rain for most of the weekend which is a good thing. We need the rain, much of the state is experiencing some flavor of drought.  Spring is a short season here in the bold cold north. The trees have started blooming and will bloom for about a week before the petals all fall off.

The crabapple blossoms look the same each year. They are fun to photograph but with the wind and rain this year it is easier to use pictures from prior years. Apple and other fruit trees are also blooming, as are the magnolia trees. If you see bushes that are loaded with yellow flowers they are Forsythia plants.


crabapple blossom
crabapple blossom