My gas furnace was only seven years old when it needed to be complete replaced. Because I never scheduled professional maintenance, the manufacturer’s warranty was no longer valid. I was not aware of the importance of regular service. In the area where I live, the furnace only runs for four to six months per year. With such a minimal workload, I figured I could depend on the heating system to run reliably without investing in annual upkeep. I have since learned that dust accumulates within the system while it sits idle. Dust, pollen, dander, lint and other debris restricts moving parts and blocks airflow. This causes the furnace to work much harder and longer to maintain a comfortable temperature within the home. The longer cycles resulted in the furnace overheated and quitting. When I called the HVAC contractor, I assumed the repair would be minor. After inspecting the equipment, the contractor informed me that there was hairline crack in the heat exchanger. He then told me that a new heat exchanger costs more than a whole new furnace. The heat exchanger is extremely important because it separates the combustion byproducts from the breathing air. Combustion byproducts include formaldehyde and carbon monoxide and are dangerous to breathe. I was forced to take out a loan to cover the cost of the new furnace. Once the installation process was complete, I immediately enrolled in a proactive service plan with the HVAC contractor. This time, I plan to take very good care of the furnace and fulfill all of the manufacturer’s warranty obligations.