While I love living in Alsip, Illinois, the weather can be a challenge. We get the benefits and difficulties of four distinct seasons. The summers are brutally hot and muggy while the winters are freezing cold and snowy. Spring and autumn are typically chilly and wet, and the wind blows all year round. My house in Alsip is outfitted with a forced air heating and cooling system. Both the furnace and air conditioner utilize a duct system to supply conditioned air into the various rooms of the house and pull stale air out. Because of this, the operation of the ductwork has a big impact on comfort, indoor air quality and energy efficiency. If there’s a buildup of dust and other debris within the pipes, it restricts airflow and causes the heating/cooling unit to run longer, work harder and use more energy. The added wear and tear increases the chance of malfunction. I pay more in utility bills and yet our comfort suffers. Plus, there’s a good chance that the contaminants will become airborne, get spread throughout the home and cause a health risk. If there are holes in the ductwork or leaks at the seams, the conditioned air escapes. Those same flaws can draw in outside, polluted air and degrade indoor air quality. I’ve learned that changing air filters and scheduling professional maintenance for the furnace and air conditioner are essential but not enough. I make sure to have the ductwork tested by a licensed HVAC professional every couple of years. I want to be sure the entirety of the heating and cooling system is working at its best.