The summer weather came early and was brutal this past year. One day, the temperature was a pleasant 53 degrees, and the next, it was 80 degrees! I went from enjoying fresh air from open windows, to sweating a lot. I rushed around to prepare everything for the warm months. I needed to get more chemicals to open the pool and have the lawn mower worked on. I brought out the patio furniture and the barbecue grill and prepared the fire pit. Although I knew I needed the air conditioner, I never gave a thought to scheduling professional maintenance. The cooling system worked fine at first and there was simply too many other things going on. I needed to weatherproof the deck, paint the garage, and get the gutters cleaned. However, the summer weather was too much last year. The temperature set records and the humidity was soaring. The air conditioner simply could not handle the pressure for those three long months. By the end of July, I noticed the performance of the cooling system was declining. The equipment made a strange clattering sound every time it cycled on, and was running for far longer. No matter how low I set the thermostat, there were warm spots all over the house. The house got a musty smell, and the air felt sticky. The big increase in my monthly electric bill eventually motivated me to call a local HVAC company for repairs. Turns out there were a lot of pollutants which were causing problems with the inner workings. The large amount of dust, mold, and pollen was restricting airflow and putting a whole lot of strain on components. The technician warned that not following essential maintenance was putting the health of my family at risk and breaking down my HVAC system.