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Switches Brew: Is It Okay to Switch Between Heat and AC

Is it Bad to Switch Between Air Conditioning & Heat?

As Texans, we know better than to expect any type of weather to last too long. Whether we’re waiting for winter to thaw into spring or anticipating summer to shift into fall, the weather can be unpredictable. So, what’s a homeowner to about the thermostat? Can we safely go from cooling to heating, even if we’ll have to change it right back the next day?

Here’s the short answer: it’s fine to switch between heat and AC, even if you’re doing it frequently. As long as you’re doing it the right way, you’re not running up your energy bill or wearing out your equipment before its time. However, a lot of people don’t know how, or more importantly, when to make the switch.

Switching Between Hot & Cold

If you need to switch from heat to AC, or vice versa, the most important thing is to let your unit complete its current cycle. If the AC is on, let it run until it switches itself off (make sure your thermostat is set to AUTO, not ON). When the AC cycle is complete, turn the thermostat to OFF and wait five minutes. Then change it from AC to heat and turn it back on.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Patience is a virtue: That five minute waiting period gives the refrigerant a chance to return to its starting pressure. If you turn it back on right away, the pressure is too high, which might cause the compressor to lock up. This can lead to a blown fuse or tripped breaker.
  • Easy does it: When switching between heating and cooling your home, don’t make drastic changes all at once. Raise or lower the temperature a few degrees, then a few degrees more once it reaches that setting, then a few degrees more until you reach the perfect temp. This is the most efficient way to get where you want to be and prevents your system from overworking.

Know that your system is working a little bit harder when you’re switching it back and forth a lot. Not enough to justify freezing through a cold spell because you’re already switched to AC, but enough that you’ll want to make sure you don’t skip your preventive maintenance visit. Now is a great time to have your Austin HVAC professional out to look over your system and ensure everything is in proper working order for the seasons ahead.

Turn to 1st Home & Commercial Services for fast, reliable services. We can help you with everything from HVAC maintenance and repairs to installations and replacements. Our skilled technicians provide award winning service that is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee.

For 24/7 heating and cooling services, contact our Austin HVAC techs today.
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