When I first signed the mortgage and moved into my house, the central home cooling system was already showing signs of age. It had obviously not been well cared for; every time it started up, there was an influx of dust and a musty odor. I hired a home heating and cooling technician to fully clean and repair the cooling components and then prayed for the best. Since I live in the northeast area of the country, AC isn’t actually necessary. Our summertime months are short and hardly ever all that hot. Since the old AC pulled a lot of wattage, it was doubtful we’d even use it that often. As long as the gas furnace was consistently working, I was pleased. While I made sure to change the air filter of the cooling program as directed, I never again bothered with professional maintenance. That old AC managed to chug along another six years. By the time it gave up the ghost, it was making terrible screeching sounds, rattling when I turned it on, and leaking condensate. I didn’t bother calling an AC technician for a repair, because I knew it wasn’t worth the cost. I had no plans to upgrade it, and figured we’d manage with just opening the windows and setting up some box fans. My first summer without air conditioning was terrible. I was appalled by how overheated and sticky the house felt. I hadn’t realized how heavily my housemates and I relied on the old AC to cool the house down. With the windows wide open, our house became riddled with bugs, dust, pollen and the stench of exhaust fumes. Before the end of summertime, I had an estimate for a modern cooling system.