Last winter, my husband and children continually complained of headaches, sore throat, and even nausea. My kids missed quite a bit of school, and my husband was constantly coughing and sneezing. I bought tons of orange juice, fed them vitamins, and even scheduled a checkup for my family with a local doctor. It wasn’t until I noticed an abundance of airborne dust, a slight musty smell and higher than normal energy bills that I started suspecting the furnace was to blame. I am conscientious about annual maintenance of the heating equipment. Every fall, I hire a licensed HVAC professional to complete a thorough inspection, cleaning and tuneup. I was not happy to think that the furnace was negatively impacting indoor air quality and responsible for our health issues. I called my regular HVAC contractor and asked him check out the heating system. He discovered that the problem was the duct system. In the twelve years we’d lived in the house, I’d never even considered having the ductwork serviced. Since our heated air passes through the branching network of pipes multiple times per day, it directly impacts our comfort and the cleanliness of the house. Every time the furnace starts up, any contaminants within the ducts can become airborne and introduced into the breath air. The inspection of the ductwork revealed an alarming buildup of bacteria and debris, including a dead mouse and mold growth. The cleaning process took a little over an hour and caused no mess or damage to the home. The improvement in comfort, smell and cleanliness of the house was immediate, and my heating bills are significantly lower.