What is the difference between a furnace cleaning and a furnace tune-up?

There is a common question that comes up when we are scheduling maintenance for a customer, and that is “what is the difference between a furnace cleaning, and furnace tune-up?” Most of these customers have received a coupon in the mail for a $49 furnace cleaning special, or some other “too good to be true” deal. The fact of the matter is, if it seems too good to be true, it likely is. What we are seeing is companies that specialize in cleaning (ie. Carpet cleaning) wanting to break into the “furnace cleaning” market, without having any actual knowledge about how these complex pieces of equipment work. When Gandy Installations, or another reputable contractor, comes out to your house to do a true furnace tune-up we are running your equipment through a number of test and adjustments to ensure it’s safe and efficient operation. Cleaning the inside of the furnace is just a small part of the process.

There are also a number of companies, that are HVAC contractors, that use a low price on a tune-up, just to get in the door so that they can sell you un-needed repairs. The truth is, a company cannot afford to send a technician out to do a proper job for $49. Our advice would be to do some research on the company that you are doing business with, make sure they are accredited with the BBB, or Fortis BC Trade Ally Network. It’s a good idea to avoid companies that knock on your door unsolicited, or phone you when you are not currently a customer of theirs. If there is any question, ask what tasks they perform with their tune-up. Gandy Installations furnace tune-up includes:

  • Heat exchanger inspection
  • Venting inspection
  • Test of safety switch operation
  • Carbon monoxide test
  • Test mechanical room for gas leaks
  • Test hot water temperature
  • Clean thermostat and test operation/adjust schedule to customer’s needs
  • Observe furnace sequence of operation
  • Change/clean standard filter
  • Clean fan blades
  • Clean and oil fan motor
  • Adjust belts (if applicable)
  • Clean all furnace parts and cabinets
  • Clean and adjust air shutters (if applicable)
  • Clean burners/pilot assembly
  • Tidy electrical wiring and tighten any loose connections
  • Measure amperage draw from several components
  • Check temperature rise
  • Observe for proper clearances of venting and combustion air
  • Observe condition and alignment of burners
  • Clean hot water tank and check for gas/water leaks
  • Check and adjust gas pressure
  • Clean and check flame rectification system
  • Clean air sensing ports