I need a new furnace. Mine is dated 1986, so it’s 32 years old and has been limping along for some time.

I would have thought it was 1926. It is so ugly.

Most furnaces are filthy dirty. I sweep mine off. But who knows what lurks behind, under or around a furnace.

Sometimes, I slide a mouse trap under ours in case something else hangs around. I haven’t caught a visitor, yet.

Anyway, I called three furnace companies to come out and give me a estimate for replacing the 1986 beauty.

I have to admit. I have no knowledge of a furnace and how it works.

So when each company asked me, if I needed the whole system, the “H-back,” I responded with, “yes”.

I had no idea what an “H-back” was, but I figured it must be part the furnace.

Boy, did I show my stupidity with the first guy.

I learned that “H-back” is really “HVAC” – heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

I also learned that my AC, which is outside on the side of my house, does not work like a refrigerator, blowing newly created cold air into the house.

Rather it recycles the warm air, from the inside.

For your information, the AC contains a compressor, condenser coil and a fan.

Although, I really didn’t care. I just needed the furnace replaced.

However, they suggested the whole package.

One guy told me I needed a new AC and then stated that the chemicals are old and can’t be used anymore.

I mean, what chemicals?

Another stated that the obsolete needed chemicals should transfer the heat from the air inside my house to the outside air.

I was worried, what chemicals?

The last said, “A beautiful new AC will get rid of that unwanted humid, nasty heat during the summer and your bad chemicals.”

Is this making sense?

Well, the furnace reps offered a variety, from Lennox, to Trane, Rheem, Daiken, Day & Night, and Ruud. I honestly had no idea there were so many brands of furnaces.

However, you should have seen their faces when I told them I wanted a smaller, more stylish furnace, in a different color, with less duct work, and one that self-cleans.

For $3,000-plus, it should self-clean.

They looked at me as if I had lost my marbles.

Their idea of an upgrade was to offer a convenient opening, where I could “slide” the filter inside the furnace.

Whoopee!

So, for a few thousand dollars, I would basically get the same square metal box with a new side hole to replace the filter.

Who manufactures these heaters?

The last guy looked at me like I was nuts when I asked if I could get a teal colored furnace.

I mean, really. Look at the choice of colors we have on our kitchen appliances, washers and dryers.

I wanted the H-back. They offered HVAC. I didn’t want gray black. They offered a filter track.

I want the Cadillac. They offered a Pontiac. I need to cutback, they offered a smokestack.

On to the next chap, as I’m headed to a cardiac.

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at jacksoncountyfamilyweek@yahoo.com or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.