Are HVAC Tune-Ups a Scam?

It is that time of year again! Fall furnace maintenance season has arrived and your mailbox has probably been packed with offers from various HVAC companies for their cleaning services. Many people have this service performed every year, others never have it performed, and then there is the small group of skeptics. If this service is worth the cost, they are more than willing to have it performed, but they do not want to waste their hard earned money on a service that is basically a scam. So, are HVAC tune-ups a scam? The short answer is “no,” but if you choose the wrong HVAC contractor for your cleaning, the answer could most definitely be “yes.”


A cleaning that is properly performed by a professional HVAC technician will have many benefits for the home including:

  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Increased reliability
  • Increased lifespan
  • Increased comfort


However, if you hire a company before doing your research, one of two things is likely to happen.

  1. Heat Exchanger or Unnecessary Repair Scam: Some companies just use a cleaning as an excuse to get into your home. They will offer a coupon price that is significantly lower than what the competition may be offering. This intrigues the unknowing homeowner, and they now have a scam artist in the home. The technician may bang around in the system a bit, but the visit will end with him finding a “dangerous crack” in the heat exchanger that he conveniently cannot show to you. This same tactic is also used when the technician deliberately breaks something in the system to convince you to purchase a repair the system doesn’t need. Don’t be fooled by his swift talk and pushy sales tactics. If there is a crack in your heat exchanger, you do need a new unit, but don’t rush. Get a second opinion before throwing away thousands of dollars on a replacement unit you really don’t need.
  1. Inadequate Cleaning: Sometimes the company may be trying to offer a legitimate service, but unfortunately, their servicemen are not qualified or competent in the area of HVAC cleaning and maintenance. You need a service company that actually holds their technicians to a higher standard, or the “cleaning” could do more damage than good.

Get Researching!

This is why research is so crucial when hiring a company to perform any service, including HVAC cleanings, in your home. This is why the internet is such a valuable service. You can find customer reviews and independent ratings from third party companies that have examined a company’s history. The BBB is a good place to start, so get searching before your schedule your furnace tune up this fall.

Image Credit: Stuart Miles at

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