We decided that after 4 years living here we would have the furnace checked and any maintenance done before winter instead of during winter. When we first moved in we had the furnace checked and we haven't done anything since then except change the filters.
A couple of interesting examples of living frugally happened at this furnace checkup. We asked if he could look at the A/C while he was already out here and prevent a spring checkup bill. I knew that it was too cold to run the A/C but figured since we didn't have any problems this summer he could at least look at it and see if there was anything major that he would notice. Since we have never had a spring or fall checkup, the A/C unit was really dirty and there was really no way to avoid a spring checkup if we want our system to run efficiently. At least he tried to take a look at it. I will admit that we run our A/C a lot more days than we run our furnace so it should have a spring checkup too.
Second, I mentioned that the day he came to check out the furnace was the first day we turned on our heat. He said his house is much older so not insulated as well as ours so he has needed to have his furnace on for the past few weeks. The day that I turned the heat on was honestly the first day that our house temperature was lower than I would have set the thermostat. We were fine with sweaters and blankets until then. I will also admit that it is never hot in our house during the winter, we set our thermostat much lower than the average family.
Third, while he was out he took a quick look at our water heater. He mentioned that our water heater was set low and we could easily turn it up from where we have it without being worried of burning the children with hot water. He said most people have theirs set higher than we do. If the temperature ranges were very low, low, high, and very high- he was suggesting that we move from low to high. But we have experimented with the temperature from where it was set when we moved in and where it is set seems to be perfect for us. If we lived where it was colder we would set it higher. But being set to low seems to be perfect for us and saves us money too.
Fourth, he told us that our furnace is the EXACT right size for our house and the builder planned that well. If we had any more square footage the furnace would not be big enough. If we had any less square footage the furnace would waste energy.
All this added up to tell me that even though we get disgusted with how easily things break here and we have done more repairs than we expected, it was a good financial decision to buy a brand new house. The furnace man confirmed all that for me. I'll continue to wait to turn on the heat until we really need to, set my thermostat low, and keep the water heater set low to save even more. Every little bit saved helps the budget!