I grew up along the southern coast, but moved up north to take a job with a much better salary. I was twenty-two years old at the time, and I had a ton of student loans to pay off. I was able to rent a big, old house at a very low rent. In exchange for the cheap rent, the landlord told me never to bother him with maintenance issues. I am quite independent, and had been living on my own for several years, so I didn’t figure this would be a problem.
I had always rented small apartments, so I had no idea how much work I was getting into. The upkeep on a big, outdated house is rather demanding. My first winter in the house was a complete nightmare because of the furnace. Other than adjusting the thermostat, I had no clue how to operate or take care of the heating system. The house was always freezing cold, with drafts coming in from every window, and I kept turning the thermostat up higher and higher.
When I got my first heat bill in the mail, I nearly had a heart attack. I finally called my father for advice, and he told me to schedule a maintenance appointment with an HVAC contractor. The HVAC technician showed me how to replace the air filter in the furnace, change the batteries in the thermostat, and gave me a bunch of energy saving tips. He also cleaned and adjusted the furnace, which greatly improved the heating capacity and energy efficiency. I called the same HVAC contractor in the spring, so that he could service the air conditioner.