My husband, Sam and I have divided up the responsibilities around the house. I handle buying the groceries, and he pays the utility bills. I take care of the yardwork and he does all of the upkeep on the swimming pool. The furnace and central air conditioner are entirely his responsibility. He is supposed to replace the air filters every month, and schedule professional maintenance every fall and spring. Last fall, he totally forgot to call the local HVAC contractor for service for the furnace. I reminded him several times, and he promised to take care of it. Although the furnace was never professionally cleaned or adjusted, it ran just fine all winter long. This past fall, I once again reminded Sam to call up the HVAC contractor and set up a time for maintenance. He once again procrastinated, and the outside temperature dropped in late September. We got hit by a tremendous blizzard with tons of snow and temperatures below zero. The furnace was forced to operate non stop for several weeks straight. I immediately noticed that the heating system was much louder than normal, and creating quite a bit of dust in the house. Sam started complaining about the cost of the monthly energy bills. Eventually, the furnace quit in the middle of the night. The cost of repair was far higher than preventative maintenance, and we ended up paying for several replacement parts. I am convinced that this inconvenience and expense could have been avoided with annual upkeep. I am planning to take over the care of the HVAC systems to make sure this essential service gets done every year.