When I started up my furnace toward the end of October, I knew something was wrong with it. The warm air coming from the vents smelled like burnt hair and was rather dusty. I noticed an immediate difference in the cleaning requirements of my home. It seemed as if I was constantly vacuuming and dusting. Plus, my husband and kids complained of headaches, itchy eyes, sore throat, and frequent sneezing. I hoped that once the furnace ran for awhile, it would work itself out. I made sure to clean the vents and replace the air filter, but this didn’t really help. Gradually the furnace began to make a strange grinding noise every time it cycled on. Those cycles lasted longer and longer, and yet the house felt a little too chilly. I bumped up the thermostat several times, and then was shocked at the cost of my monthly energy bill. I finally called a local HVAC contractor, but with a sudden snap of cold weather, it was difficult to get an appointment. Apparently, everyone in the area was having troubles with their heating equipment. The closest appointment was ten days away, and my furnace didn’t last that long. It quit in the middle of the night, over the weekend, when the outside temperature was down to twelve degrees. I ended up paying extra for overtime service, and then the contractor told me the furnace wasn’t worth fixing. He said that the buildup of dust and debris within the inner workings had caused a tremendous amount of wear and tear. The cost of the numerous replacements parts would have added up to a larger expense than a whole new furnace.