Once the central cooling system was installed in my house, I took it for granted. Other than occasionally changing the air filter, I didn’t give it a thought. I figured that the air conditioner was brand new and should operate properly. The cooling equipment functioned without any problems for nearly ten years. I then noticed that it was running for much longer cycles and providing far less cold air. I kept needing to set the thermostat lower and lower to achieve comfort on really hot days. There was definitely more humidity in the house, and I seemed to need to dust and vacuum more often. Eventually, the air conditioner started to rattle whenever it started up, and it smelled weird. When I started suffering from headaches during the summer months, I finally contacted a local HVAC contractor. The HVAC technician took the air conditioner apart and showed me the inner workings. I was completely disgusted by the amount of dust, mold, and algae. Every time the air conditioner started up, it was blowing bacteria and contaminants into my breathing air. Plus, because of the accumulation of filth, the air conditioner was struggling with airflow and drawing excessive amounts of energy. It was no wonder my electric bills had increased and my house was far dirtier. The air conditioner was in need of some serious cleaning and attention. It took the HVAC contractor several hours to meticulous clean the coils, fan blades, motor, and all of the various components. When he was finished, however, the cooling equipment worked like new. I will not longer neglect the regular upkeep.