When I was growing up, my parents were adamant about making sure I knew how to take care of myself. As early as eight years old, my dad taught me how to handle a ton of household chores, such as washing the dishes, taking out the garbage, cleaning and dusting the house, and more. As I got older, my dad also showed me how to cut some living expenses for the house – I’m glad he did, as I use many of his little tricks to this day! The thing is, I thought that my parents and their approach to teaching self-reliance was the norm. It wasn’t until I moved in with two friends after college, that I came to a startling realization – I was an exception! Both of my friends were clueless about household maintenance, especially when it came to our heating and air conditioning systems. I even had to show them how to replace the air filter, which I thought was common knowledge! As I taught my roomates about the basics of heating and cooling systems, as well as practices to keep our energy bills low, they began to realize just how little they knew about maintaining these appliances. By the end of the conversation, I was explaining to them about warning signs for HVAC maintenance being needed. The rule of thumb was simple – if it takes more than an hour to get the apartment cooled down by five degrees, the air conditioning system needed to be tuned up or possibly repaired. The same went for the heating system, as the furnace likely needed service if it took over an hour to warm our apartment by five degrees.