Fireplaces, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors—those are some of the top wants people have in a home. But, when it comes to needs, the essentials start with heating and cooling. 

"Your heating and cooling system is what provides you comfort. So you want to definitely make sure that whether it be a forced hot air system or a hot water type baseboard system that it's running as efficiently and effectively as possible," said Marc Gladding, general manager with Appolo Heating & Cooling.

Making sure your system is doing just that means regular, routine maintenance.

"We recommend that all our homeowners have their systems cleaned and checked once a year, once on the heating side, once on the cooling side. We have customers that prefer to do it on separate occasions, depending on what the season is. And there are also customers that like the convenience of doing it in just one visit," said Gladding.

There are some telltale signs that there could be an issue.

"I think some of the big issues could be inconsistent heat, high utility bills, odd noises that they may be hearing from their system. All of those point to needing someone to come out and take a good look at it and either sometimes it'll involve a repair, but other times, most of the time, routine maintenance, such as changing an air filter can alleviate those things," said Gladding.

A new system can last between 15 and 20 years, but only if you're taking care of it. Spending a little money each year to have it checked could save you big repair costs in the long run.

"Annual maintenance really focuses on making sure that the equipment is gone through and tuned up on an annual basis. After that, you might have some indoor air quality accessories that might need maintenance. That could be your humidifier or your ultraviolet light," said Gladding.

All good information if you're a current homeowner, but what if you're looking to buy a home for the first time? What should you be looking for when it comes to this system? We'll have a follow up report in a few weeks to answer those questions and more.