This past year, winter arrived way earlier than normal. By the end of September we already had snow on the ground and temperatures low enough to require operating the heater. I was caught totally unprepared and forced to scramble to winterize my home, and Ineeded to put all of the patio furniture and barbecue grill into storage and close down the swimming pool. All of the summer clothing needed to be put away to make room for wool coats, knitted hats and heavy boots, and I made sure the snow shovels and ice scrapers were accessible, and that the snow blower was ready to operate, and I even went out and bought a supply of rock salt. I made sure all of the windows in the home were shut tight, but I completely forgot to schedule professional maintenance for the heater. Unfortunately, the furnace was forced to carry a heavy workload from September until the middle of April. We experienced temperatures well below zero and blizzard-like conditions, and the the heating system ran non stop. I worried that it would suddenly quit in the middle of the night and leave my family without heat. I certainly didn’t want to pay for a costly furnace repair or be forced to replace the whole heating system. I was relieved when spring finally arrived, and I immediately contacted a local HVAC contractor and requested service for both the heater and air conditioner. I didn’t want to get caught without having the cooling system properly inspected and cleaned, and I doubted I’d be lucky enough to get through another season without a malfunction.