The pinnacle of adulthood is often defined as marriage, parenthood, job, and homeownership.

In 2008, I married my college sweetheart, Laura. In 2011, we welcomed our first child, Owen. In December 2011, The NEWS welcomed me as its newest staff member.

And, to round out the list, in mid-October, we finally received the keys to our first home.

What a relief. Coming from a two-bedroom apartment — with an extended jaunt at the in-laws in between — we were very pleased to finally have a place to call our own. Oh, the abundance of space — plenty of room for her porcelain dolls and my sports memorabilia.

However, all that space does cause a major concern: heating and cooling bills. Keeping a two-bedroom apartment comfortable was easily attainable, and the in-laws (bless their souls) didn’t make us chip in for the utility bills.

However, to my joyful glee, heating bills won’t be much of a worry inside our 2,454-square-foot McMansion.

Upon our initial inspection of the short-sale home, which occurred way back in May (I’ll save my displeasure with the real-estate machine for another editorial…), I was immediately drawn to the basement, where the HVAC goodies dwell. As I opened the utility-room door, seemingly glowing with an angelic haze was a Trane XV 95. In its 96.7-percent AFUE glory, I swear the gas-fired furnace winked at me.

I screamed out loud — not because of my supposed wink-induced hallucination, but because I was absolutely enamored with the efficient machine the previous owners had blessed us with.

Upon a quick Google search of the modish machine, my ecstasy was further elevated as I read that the variable-speed device had earned The NEWS’ coveted Dealer Design Award for four consecutive years. Now, I’d heard about variable speed furnaces before, but to suddenly be the proud owner of a furnace our industry tags as the best of the best, is simply amazing. And to experience variable-speed comfort. Marvelous.

And let me tell you what, the first thing I did when we finally unlocked that door for the first time was rush down to the basement to fire up my new efficient friend. In fact (don’t tell my wife — she’ll think I’m weird), I gave it a hug as it whispered its warm breath out the registers. Ah. Comfort at the Woerpel residence will come efficiently and affordably. I think I’m going to really like this homeownership deal.