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This is what I do with my furnace. I have the same firm who installed it check it once a year and clean it. I could clean it myself, but I'd prefer to be on the firm's regular customer list in case I have an emergency.

We have a lot of stuff like that. Furance, plumbing, electrician, tree work. DH knows how to get along with all these guys - sits and has a beer with them, etc. As a result, they're there when we need them. When the tree fell on our house, the tree guys were right there, even though there had been lots of damage elsewhere. But DH is careful to also bide his time when we don't need immediate attention. Last summer when the huge poplar got hit by lightening (this was during the derecho event), it obviously had to come down. He knew it would last for a while, so let the tree guys get on with the other more vital cleanup before getting to us.

arrete - don't treat the people who do work for you as if they are disposable. Always a good plan.
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