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Furnace Tune up vs. Furnace Cleaning in Calgary: Which Service Do You Need?

Updated: Sep 28

furnace cleaned and inspected in calgary

Are you a Calgary homeowner wondering about the difference between a "furnace cleaning " and a "furnace tune-up " Your furnace serves as the heartbeat of your home, tirelessly circulating air throughout every room. However, with that air comes dust particles, and sometimes even pet hair, which, ideally, should be trapped by your furnace filter. Yet, inevitably, some of these particles find their way into your ductwork and the furnace itself. In this article, we will look at the differences between a furnace cleaning and a furnace tune-up, helping you make an informed decision about which service suits your needs best.

So what is a furnace cleaning ?

Furnace cleaning companies have high powered vacuum trucks that far exceed the power of the blower in our furnace. These trucks have piping they connect to our ductwork system and then use the high powered blower / vacuum system of the truck to agitate the air in the ductwork and furnace cavity. Often accompanied by an agitating brush to disturb the dirt that is not caught by our furnace filters.

The dirt is disturbed by the brush and high powered air then sucked back out to the truck where it is trapped in filters then disposed of.

What is a furnace tune up ?

A furnace tune up is ideally performed by a licensed technician who has years of experience dealing with repairs and diagnosing issues with HVAC systems.

First they will start by cleaning all parts of the furnace inside and out uncluding drains, sensors and blower wheels to name a few. Your furnace is then inspected from top to bottom identifying any potential problems that may be unnoticeable to the untrained eye. Problems that could be found during the inspection.

Heat exchanger

Your heat exchanger is the component of your furnace that separates the products of combustion and the fresh air in your home, it directs the products of combustion out the furnace chimney or venting system in your home. Over time with the constant expansion and contraction that comes with being heated and cooled repeatedly can cause these components to crack breaking that barrier between the fresh air and exhausted products of combustion. This can lead to harmful gases like carbon monoxide being introduced into your home ! A proper heat exchanger inspection is critical to a good furnace tune up. This is performed with specialty equipment such as combustion analyzers and inspection cameras.


The ignitor in your furnace is the component that ignites the natural gas . Picture a red hot stove element but on a smaller and much hotter scale. These components can crack causing them to stop working and causing the furnace not to be able to light. A visual inspection should be performed to identify If there is any weak points that may be about to fail.

Combustion motor

These small motors blow the products of combustion out of your home . These motors are subject to a high heat and often high moisture environment both of these things are very hard on electric motors. These motors can be audibly tested and also electrically tested to ensure the bearings are not failing . If the bearings do fail you will often hear an unusual squealing or grumbling coming from your furnace. This means it's time to get it replaced as this can cause your unit to shut down.

Blower motor

The blower motor is the component that circulates the air through your home. The bearings in these motors can fail causing the motor to overheat and shut off. If the air stops circulating your furnace overheats and shuts down as it realizes there is a problem. This can be caught early with audible or electrical tests preventing this failure from happening.

Condensate drain

this component is specific to high efficiency furnaces. As your furnace cools the burned natural gas water vapour is released and needs to be drained from your furnace. The condensate drainage system is a network of small tubes, traps and piping that can become clogged. A proper furnace tune up includes removing this tubing and trap system flushing it out to remove any dirt dust and debris that could clog your drain. If the drain becomes clogged it can back up the condensate causing the secondary heat exchanger to fill with water preventing it from exhausting. Your furnace will sense this blockage and shut down.

After a full inspection is done sensitive components are removed from the system and cleaned. Such as the following.

Flame sensor

is an electrical component in your system that senses wether the flame is present. Often these sensors get coated in contaminants which eventually prevents them from sensing the presence of the flame and ultimately shutting down the furnace. The flame sensor should be removed cleaned and then tested to ensure it is reading properly.

Blower assembly

your blower assembly is what circulates the air through your home. The fan blades in your blower can often get plugged with dirt and hair often causing the fan assembly to not move as much air as it was designed to move. This can cause problems with your furnace overheating or running warmer than it was designed to run and could cause premature heat exchanger failure.


the burners in your furnace are the component that controls and directs the flame into your heat exchanger. The burners have several small orifices and slots that can become plugged over time causing improper combustion or preventing the burners from lighting at all. burners should be removed inspected and thoroughly scrubbed clean to ensure they are lighting and burning properly.

So what one is better?

Both furnace tune ups and furnace cleanings in Calgary have their pros and cons here we break down what we think are the downfalls and benefits of each option.

Furnace tune up

Con - It will clean your furnace but it will not clean your duct-work. You can always have a duct cleaning company come in to do this at a later date.

Pro - You will have the comfort and confidence knowing that your furnace has been fully inspected by a professional and is safe to operate . You will also have the peace of mind knowing any potential problems will be brought to your attention before your furnace breaks down.

Furnace/ duct cleaning

Pro- Your entire duct system will be cleaned of all dust, hair and allergens providing you a cleaner healthier breathing environment.

Con- Often furnace cleaners are not trained to spot mechanical issues with your furnace which may lead to an untimely failure of your furnace that could have been caught and prevented by a proper inspection/tune up and cleaning.

If you are looking for a furnace tune up in Calgary and want a qualified professional to look over your equipment . Give Airology a call at 587-837-4111 or contact us here to book your appointment today.

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