All has just begun and I can’t believe how cold it is outside already. If it is any indication of the winter to come it is going to be a long one. The skies are cloudy and gray, and it rains nearly every day. With temperatures in the mid forties and I’ve had to put away all of the fans, remove the portable air conditioners and close up the windows. I’ve put electric heated blankets on everyone’s bed because I refuse to turn on the heat this early in the year. I am reluctant to start paying to heat the house so soon. I know that once I give in and start up the furnace, it will run non stop until April. Each year I dread paying those high monthly energy bills and breathing in that stale, dusty air. I just hate winter, and I don’t want to face it any earlier than necessary. My whole family is complaining about how cold the house is and beg me to raise the setting on the thermostat. Because the cold air arrives so early I haven’t gotten around to scheduling annual maintenance for the furnace. I keep telling them that it isn’t safe to use the furnace until that is done. I have no way of knowing if they’re have been any problems with the system that may have occurred over the summer when it was not in use. There’s a possibility of damage to the heat exchanger, which could expose us to carbon monoxide poisoning. I’m sure that operating the furnace would be just fine, but I refuse to start it up until lat October at the earliest. I just keep hoping that this cold stretch will pass, and the weather will warm back up.