Last year, I neglected our most important family member; our oil furnace. Because of my inattention, when the weather turned cold, we suffered with inefficient heat. I remember being stressed at work. At home, I was burdened with rushing to close up the pool and put away the patio furniture. The yard equipment had to be stored and, in all the rush, I forgot about the furnace. When I started up the heater in early September, we smelled a burning odor. By Halloween, there were several feet of snow on the ground causing me to raise the thermostat setting. The heated air was dusty which made my family sneeze and cough. We were miserable. So far, this Winter has been unusually cold as well. Once again we are forced to depend on our greatest asset; the oil furnace. Since the cold weather set in, the unit has been running constantly and at maximum capacity. There seems to be no end to the frigid temperatures outdoors. It’s nearly Easter, and the snow is still coming down with the thermometer readings below freezing. The oil furnace is having a hard time keeping up with demand. I’ve gently raised the setting on the thermostat a few degrees at a time but the house never warms up. The cost of our heating bills, however, continues to rise. Our budget is strained. I’m stricken with fear that the HVAC system is going to break in the middle of the coldest winter ever. My family with be without heat. The furnace has started to make a bizarre sound whenever it tries to start. I called around to our local heating services people, but they are completely booked for the next several weeks. I’m scared that our oil furnace can’t last that long. In the meantime, I pray that the weather will warm up.