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It might not be convenient scheduling a maintenance visit from your local heating and cooling contractor. And it might cost you a little money up front. But experts recommend doing this at least once a year, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to let you know why. Here are three reason to get your heating and cooling system checked on a regular basis:

Save, Save, Save

The harder your A/C and heating system has to work, the more it’s going to cost to operate. Preventative maintenance can ensure your system is running as efficiently as possible. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 30% on your heating and cooling expenses by keeping your system in tip-top shape.

But it’s not just your energy bill that you can save on. Regular maintenance can help prevent costly breakdowns or having to buy an entirely new system. And if your HVAC system is under warranty, you may even be required to get regular tune-ups as a condition of the guarantee—read through yours to find out.

Additionally, If you sign up for a regular maintenance plan with a local heating and cooling contractor, you might even get extra benefits such as priority service, discounted parts and labor, and regular maintenance reminders. Click here for some tips on how to choose a contractor.

And, if you haven’t already, consider checking with your area’s utility company. Many offer free or discounted yearly tune-ups you’ll want to take advantage of.

Boost Safety and Comfort

Generally speaking, air quality indoors isn’t as good as the air outside. The EPA reports that airborne pollutants are typically up to five times higher inside. This can be attributed to a number of causes—dust, mold, pollen and even gasses from carpet and paint. An efficient HVAC system will help filter these pollutants out and help you breathe easy.

A properly working system can also protect your home during cold spells—helping prevent cracked pipes and other damage that can occur in freezes. This is especially problematic when you’re not there to keep an eye on things. Today’s smart thermostats can help you manage your temperatures when you’re gone, but they won’t help fix the issue if other parts of your system malfunction.

Your heating system can also be the cause of carbon monoxide in your home, as defective parts in your heat exchanger can leak this dangerous gas into your living spaces. Regular maintenance checks can help find such problems before they become serious health risks.

And regular maintenance will also help increase your comfort, as a properly working system will help move air through your home evenly and efficiently, no matter what season.

Help Protect the Planet

HVAC systems have gotten more efficient over the years, but heating and cooling still make up the single biggest energy expense for homes in the U.S.—at about 48%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Most of our energy production still comes from fossil fuels such as natural gas—the most efficient of the lot—and that has an affect on the well-being of our planet, as these fuel sources have been shown to contribute to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. A well-working HVAC system will help you cut your carbon footprint and help protect our environment.

Additionally, if you haven’t had your system serviced in a while, a heating and cooling contractor can tell you what kind of refrigerant your system is using. Some types—produced before 2010—have been shown to contribute to ozone depletion. The good news is that in many cases you can have your refrigerant replaced with a type that’s friendlier to Mother Nature’s fragile atmosphere.