I’ve owned my own home for almost thirty years. I’ve spent a great deal of time and money making improvements to comfort, aesthetics, security and efficiency. I’ve learned that along with investing into top quality equipment, appliances, materials and workmanship, regular upkeep is essential. It’s important to empty the lint trap of the dryer after every load and schedule a professional to clean the entire vent every year. The water heater should be drained to reduce sediment and mineral buildup annually. Every six months, I clean all of the aerators in the house and pour a combination of baking soda and vinegar down the drains. Even the best furnace on the market will have problems if it isn’t regularly serviced. Dust is the enemy of a forced air heating system. Keeping the air filters clean works to catch contaminants that would otherwise infiltrate the inner workings of the heater. When debris builds up inside, it blocks air flow, restricts moving parts and makes the furnace struggle to keep up with demand. The wear and tear leads to greater energy consumption, higher operational costs, longer run times and an increased risk of malfunction. Plus, the furnace won’t last as long. Along with diminished comfort, air quality suffers. The heating system introduces pathogens into breathing air and creates health risks. I’ve learned that sneezing, coughing, headaches, congestion, sore throat and difficulty sleeping can often be blamed on a dirty heating system. I have enrolled in a maintenance plan with a local HVAC company. A technician comes to the house every year to service the furnace. He tests, cleans, adjusts and troubleshoots all components to maximize efficiency, safety and capacity. This yearly tune-up satisfies the requirements of the manufacturer’s warranty.