When my wife, Mary, & I relocated north because of her job, we spent the first year living in a cramped little apartment. We dealt with unquestionably little space, ancient appliances, insufficient hot water, & nowhere to park. We started looking at houses as soon as we got acquainted with the area. Neither of us wanted to rush into anything. We hoped to find a good deal on a lake house with quite a bit of property, located near our jobs. Since both of us had grown up in the south, the change in weather was a huge adjustment for us. Temperatures below cold, brutal wind chill, or drifts of snow were new to us. Mary & I knew that the heating plan in our new house would be a priority. In the apartment both of us rented, the heating unit was aged & inefficient. It seemed to run day & evening, yet struggled to keep up with demand. It also spread quite a bit of dust whenever it started up, made a lot of noise, & cost a fortune to run. The aged windows in the apartment, which leaked a tremendous amount of air, did not help the situation. We were also suspicious that there was insufficient insulation in the walls & ceilings. Because of our experience in this horrible little apartment, Mary & I were unquestionably particular when touring houses. Both of us made sure to inspect the age & condition of the windows, weatherstripping, insulation & ductwork. When we both liked a house, we hired a Heating & A/C contractor to inspect the entire heating plan & deliver us an opinion on its condition & expected life span.