I bought a new oil furnace many years ago – times were different and money was tight so the unit I purchased was by no means top of the line. I did not want to spend extra money for any fancy features, I just needed it to heat my home. The contractor who handled the upgrade project mentioned that I should enroll in a proactive maintenance plan. I saw no reason to pay for something like this for a heating method that was brand new out of the box at the time. Plus, I figured since the oil furnace only runs for about six weeks out of the year and that I am always replacing the air filters every week, that it would be passable. Last winter, I observed the heating unit running for much longer cycles but it didn’t seem to be producing as much warm air – my house felt so chilly, especially on those extra frigid nights. I kept turning the thermostat higher, which led to higher weekly utility bills. The air blowing from the vents was very dusty, so I was forced to clean and vacuum more often than usual. I undoubtedly should have called for professional repair but instead, I simply ignored the concerns with the oil furnace. Since I bought such a cheap model, it didn’t include any advanced safety features. Apparently, during the summer months when the oil furnace sits idle, dust builds up within the inner workings and that dust restricts airflow and causes excessive wear and tear on the unit. In time, the oil furnace overheated, and resulted in a crack in the heat exchanger. The cost of replacing an up-to-date heat exchanger is equivalent to the price of a whole new up-to-date oil furnace. I ended up taking out a personal loan and replacing the oil furnace. I have now enrolled in a professional maintenance method to ensure the equipment continues run properly and reliably.