Furnace #fail at Lara’s house, prompting some “indoor camping” around the wood stove. Avoid the long, cold night by getting your heating system serviced by a professional.

On December’s coldest night, our furnace failed.

We were fortunate. We had a wood stove, plenty of firewood, and lots of bodies. Everyone — kids, parents, the dog — piled on mattresses in front of the stove and snuggled together for a living room sleepover.

I’ll grant you this: one night of indoor camping can be fun. Our twelve-year-old son even asked if we could do it again. The next day the sun came out, the repair was made, and all was well in our world again. But make no mistake: only the novelty of it was entertaining.

A heating system failure is a migraine’s cousin: there’s never a good time for it. With the temps at -9 degrees outside, it was sobering how quickly our insulated, buttoned-up home got cold. Really cold. It was daunting how much the emergency fix was going to cost us ($175 just to show up, the mechanical tech warned over the phone).

At the time I wondered, What are the odds of this happening after-hours, on a weekend, on the chilliest of days? Pretty good, as it turns out. Mechanical systems are most vulnerable to failure when they’re under the heaviest loads — like cranking up for a full house on the coldest night in months.

This all could have been avoided had we known that we should have been giving our heating system some regular loving: a tune-up, just like you would for your car — or your teeth for that matter!

Preventative maintenance is the single most important factor when it comes to keeping your heating system happy and healthy. It decreases the chance of a breakdown and helps prevent expensive repairs. Plus, it protects your family’s health and safety (checking for carbon monoxide leaks), boosts the longevity of your system, and saves you money (maintenance is always cheaper than emergency repair). CORE even offers a 25% cash-back rebate on heating system tune-ups — which start at about $150 — to residents of the Roaring Fork Valley.

In our case, we learned that our 17-year-old furnace was on its last leg. We got a short-term fix, and will be making a long-term investment in a new high-efficiency model for which CORE also provides rebates. The Colorado Energy Office is introducing a new, statewide low-interest loan program for home energy improvements. We’ll be tapping that too.

I loved the family sleepover, but from here on out, you can bet I’ll be getting our furnace maintained each year. You should too.

If you think you’re ready for a heating system tune-up, or just want to learn more, connect with a CORE Energy Advisor today for free technical advising. Our expert staff can line out the benefits and rebates, as well as provide suggestions for finding a local contractor. Email us or call 970-925-9775. We’re here to help!