I live in an area of the country that experiences four distinct seasons and very volatile weather. The temperature fluctuates between twenty below zero and the triple digits. I deal with excessive humidity, high winds, torrential downpours, tons of snow, brutal windchill and even such aggressive hail that it causes damage. There are only rare opportunities to open the windows and enjoy some fresh air. Most of the time, it’s necessary to rely on either the furnace or the air conditioner to regulate indoor temperature. I’m either paying a very high natural gas bill or a super expensive electric bill. I have enrolled in a proactive maintenance plan with a local HVAC contractor to keep my heating and cooling systems working in peak condition. I make sure to replace the air filters every month and keep the supply and return vents clean. Every three to five years, I schedule a complete inspection for the duct system to ensure there are no holes, leaks or accumulation of debris. I’ve also gone to a great deal of lengths to tighten up my home and reduce energy waste. I certainly don’t want my heated or cooled air escaping, and I hope to prevent outside air from coming in. Although the project was rather expensive, I replaced every single one of the old windows in my home. I chose Energy Star rated, triple pane windows and then carefully caulked around them. I’ve weatherstripped along the bottom of all exterior doors, and hired an HVAC professional to improve the insulation in the walls, ceilings and crawl spaces. Just recently, I added several overhead ceiling fans to help reduce the workload of the furnace and air conditioner. In the winter months, the fan pushes the heated air down toward the floor. During the summer, I reverse the rotation of the fan blades to push the heat up and out. Despite all my investments and efforts, it still costs me a fortune to heat and cool my house.