When my wife, Samantha and I bought our home, we were very aware that we’d chosen a fixer-upper. Our previous house was especially large. There was enough bedrooms to accommodate a family of six. Samantha and I just couldn’t afford the mortgage, taxes and upkeep, especially with five kids to support. We made the decision to downsize. We wanted a more cost-friendly home that wouldn’t eat up our time and budget. We looked for a house we could improve over time. In the first year, Samantha and I made replaced most of the appliances. We invested in a new fridge, dishwasher, microwave, dryer, washer, water heater and stove. Our biggest expense was the upgrades we made to the heating air conditioning system. The house was equipped with central heating and cooling which relies on ductwork. There cooling system was extremely old, inefficient oversized! It smelled weird whenever it started up and used a tremendous amount of electricity. The duct system definitely leaked and was full of contaminants. We consulted with a local HVAC contractor, who helped us combat these problems. They installed a more appropriately sized cooling system and provided duct cleaning and sealing. Samantha and I then focused on improving the gas furnace. The furnace was at least twenty years old and no longer keeping up with demand. We worried about safety and air quality. The heater tended to overly dry the air and spread a lot of dust into the home. We invested in an ENERGY STAR rated furnace which has paid for itself through superior energy efficiency.