When my husband and I first purchased our home, we made sure to have the heating and cooling system inspected by a local HVAC contractor. He told us everything was in decent condition and recommended annual maintenance services. We enrolled in a program that included a fall service for the furnace and upkeep for the air conditioner in the spring. We assumed that this would keep the entirety of the HVAC system running properly. We never gave the duct system a thought. My husband and I counted on the HVAC contractor to handle all of the necessary inspections and cleaning. Unfortunately, the technician totally ignored the ductwork. Over the years a whole bunch of contaminants built up inside, preventing the heated and cooled room from reaching its intended destination. This caused rooms that were either overheated or chilly, no matter how we adjusted the thermostat. Plus, the furnace and air conditioner were required to run longer, work harder and use more energy. Our energy bills gradually climbed higher and higher. When we noticed that our air quality had also diminished due to a steady influx of dust, we finally had the ductwork professionally cleaned. We chose a different HVAC company, one that specialized in duct services. The technician found dead mice in our ductwork, along with dust, bugs, webs, and mold growth. Every time the furnace or air conditioner operated, it was sending harmful spores, bacteria and particulate into the air my husband and I breathe. Our health was put at risk, and I blame the HVAC provider who was paid to handle our annual maintenance.