When I first started up my gas furnace in early October, it acted strange. The heating system made a tremendous amount of noise, and a lot of dust blew from the vents. I assumed this was caused by sitting idle throughout the spring, summer and early fall. I hoped that after running for a few days, the system would work out the problems. Unfortunately, this past winter was one of the coldest on record. The temperature plummeted to fifteen below zero, with a vicious wind chill and tremendous amount of snowfall. The furnace carried an unusually heavy workload and seemed to run constantly, I kept turning the thermostat higher and higher, and yet my home felt slightly chilly. There were cold spots and drafts in certain rooms. I definitely should have called an HVAC contractor for repair. Although I made sure to change the air filter every few weeks, I simply never found the time to schedule professional service. The horrible weather created a tremendous amount of work. I spent a lot of hours shoveling the driveway, brushing snow off my car, knocking icicles off the roof and scraping ice. I worried that the back deck would collapse from the weight of the snow. I should have paid closer attention to the deteriorating performance of the furnace. My heating system quit during the middle of the night, over the weekend, when the temperature had dipped to twenty-three below zero. There was simply no way to survive without heat until regular business hours on Monday. I had no choice but to pay extra for emergency service. The HVAC contractor confirmed that the malfunction was caused by the buildup of dust and contaminants within the inner workings. He said that if I would have called when I first started up the furnace, a simple cleaning would have fixed the issue. Instead, I got stuck paying to replace several parts.