“You can learn the easy way, or the hard way.” Most of us hear that phrase, and immediately think it means we’re taking a beating if something isn’t done right. The reality of this expression is that one could learn how to perform a task based on lectures practice (the easy way), or through trial and error (the much harder way). In my case, I always seem to go for the latter of two schools, as I tend to make a mistake once and only once. Take last Summer, for example. Before July came, my wife, two daughters and myself all piled into a car to head up north for a few weeks. I shut off power to everything before leaving, hoping that the HVAC system remaining off would reduce the power bill at the cost of the air quality indoors. Well, we didn’t realize that a major storm system was coming through town while we were gone – not until we got back home from our vacation, that is. Upon entering the house, we were hit with the expected wave of hot air, but also struck by the unexpected foul odor of mildew and mold. Since my heating and air conditioning system was never cycled during the storm, the hot, moist air lingered in the ducts. Combined with a leak in the ductwork and some pests, we had a combination of severe mildew and an infestation of rats! The ductwork was chock-full of mold and required extensive duct cleaning by an HVAC professional. The bad news just kept rolling in, as much of the ductwork had to be replaced – the rats chewed holes through the ductwork all throughout the house! As the HVAC professionals came to appraise the costs for replacing the ducts, my frustration kept growing. If only we’d stayed home for our Summer vacation, we could’ve been here to stop the mildew and rodent problems before they started! My wife tells me I shouldn’t kick myself over it, but it’s hard not to. The HVAC contractors are thankfully letting me finance the duct renovation, which I’m incredibly thankful for. The last thing I need right now is a massive bill on top of a house that’s unlivable!