Start Preparing Your Furnace for Winter

October 14, 2019

Winter in the D.C. area can bring cold and unpredictable weather. Is your furnace prepared to keep you warm this year? Fall is a great time to tune-up your natural gas furnace, so it can get you through the winter and keep your home warm and toasty. Preventative maintenance on your furnace helps identify and fix problems, avoiding issues that could leave you in the cold. Regular maintenance can also extend the lifespan of your furnace.

Here are 5 ways you can prepare your furnace this fall:

  1. Replace Air Filters: A dirty filter makes your furnace work harder, which will wear your heating system down faster over time. Air filters also capture dust, allergens and other contaminants that can negatively affect the air quality in your home. Filters should be changed every 1-3 months. Check your air filter size and type before making a purchase. You could damage your system if the replacement filter does not fit properly.
  2. Vet your Vents: Vents accumulate dirt and debris over time, clogging openings and causing heating issues. Clean your vents with a wet cloth and remove any items stuck in the vents.
  3. Schedule your Annual Furnace Exam: Have a trained professional perform a check-up on your furnace once a year. As part of maintenance check-ups, key components are cleaned and tested to make sure that they work properly. Schedule your furnace check-up before it starts getting cold, so you have time to make any necessary repairs or replacements. Looking for a qualified contractor? Contractors participating in the Washington Gas EmPOWER Contractor Network are ready to help you. They can also connect you with Washington Gas rebates for new, high-efficiency natural gas heating equipment.
  4. Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Model: A furnace’s age impacts its effectiveness. The average lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years. You may want to consider or start planning for a replacement if your furnace is over 15 years old. An annual furnace check-up can help you identify when you need a new furnace. Today’s high-efficiency natural gas furnaces operate at up to 98% efficiency, far better than older models. Fall is a slower season for HVAC contractors, which means it’ll be easier to schedule a replacement now. Maryland Washington Gas customers can qualify for a rebate of up to $400 on select high-efficiency models.
  5. Practice Safety First: Avoid a potential fire hazard by removing clutter around your furnace. While you’re at it, make sure furniture and curtains are not blocking the vent, so your home can be heated more evenly. Test your carbon monoxide detector and replace the batteries if necessary.

Follow these tips to help you and your family stay ahead of winter. Save even more with high-efficiency rebates from Washington Gas. Through the Washington Gas Maryland Existing Home Program, Maryland customers can take advantage of natural gas equipment rebates. To qualify, eligible equipment must be purchased and installed by a participating contractor in the Washington Gas EmPOWER Contractor Network.

Get started now and find a participating contractor by visiting

Written by Fiona Ryan, Marketing Specialist with Washington Gas, a WGL Company.

7 comments on "Start Preparing Your Furnace for Winter"

  1. Qub Jordan says:

    Thank you for sharing.Your blog posts are interesting and informative.I think many people like it and visit it regularly, including me.

    1. Larissa Johnson says:

      Thank you for the kind remarks, our goal is to provide informative and interesting blog posts to residents. Please let us know if there are any topics you would like to see written.

      DEP Energy Team

  2. Zoe Campos says:

    Thanks for helping me understand the importance of having a trained professional check our HVAC system. My kids are playing around with the furnace the other day and I thought that this might be the reason why it didn’t work when I tried to use it earlier today. I’ll just follow your advice and hire an expert who can check it properly for issues.

    1. Larissa Johnson says:


      That is great news! Good luck and if you want to let us know about the experience, that would be great!

  3. Your article is very good. I think a dirty filter makes our furnace work harder, which will wear our heating system down faster over time. Air filters also capture dust, allergens, and other contaminants that can negatively affect the air quality in our home. So we should replace air filters.

    1. Larissa Johnson says:

      Yes, always change your air filters – some people need to do it once a month and others every 90 days so make sure you find what works best for you!

  4. Awesome tips! Indeed, ensuring your furnace to be operational, safe and energy-sufficient before the winter arrives is the most important thing. To be sure that you are doing the right thing, better hire a professional HVAC contractor as they are trained and have the right tools and equipment. They can also provide accurate solutions in case any problems occur.

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