Can switching back and forth between heat and AC damage your system?
It’s getting to be that time of year again when we find ourselves “sooooo hooooot” during the day but piling on the blankets at night. With the changing of the seasons comes allergies, the need to carry around a hoodie “just in case,” and regular trips to our thermostat. We just can’t seem to get comfortable, so we constantly bump the temp up and down a degree or two—or even switch from AC to heat at night, and then back again in the morning.
Can those frequent change-ups actually damage your system? As OKC HVAC professionals, we do cringe a bit when we hear about people switching back and forth between AC and and heat—but only when homeowners are going about it the wrong way.
Do’s and Don’ts of Switching Between Heat and AC
Your HVAC system can handle your indecision perfectly well, as long as you follow these simple do’s and don’ts.
- DON’T switch mid-cycle. If you wake up at 3 am shivering, it’s tempting to march to the thermostat and fire up the furnace. But if you make the switch while the AC is still running, asking it to switch gears too quickly can cause the compressor to lock up, which can trip a breaker. (Who wants to stumble bleary-eyed to the basement at 3 am to reset a breaker?)
- DO let the system rest. When you hear the AC turn off, set your thermostat to OFF, wait five or six minutes, then switch to heat and turn the system back to AUTO. This gives the pressure in the system a chance to equalize.
- DO take it easy on the temperature setting. So, it’s 3 am, and even though your teeth are chattering, you’ve patiently waited a few minutes before turning on the heat. (Way to go!) Your next temptation will be to crank up the thermostat to 84 degrees and dive back under the covers. Don’t do that. Your home isn’t going to warm up any faster just because you’ve set the furnace to Phoenix. Here’s what’ll happen instead: You’ll kick your blankets to the floor at about 4:30 am, and then at about 5:45 am, you’ll stomp to the thermostat (sweating) to switch back to AC. In other words, your poor furnace will have worked long and hard—only to make you super uncomfortable. That unnecessary wear and tear will shorten the life of your HVAC unit.
DON’T skip preventive maintenance. The best way to get the most from your HVAC system is to take great care of it. OKC homeowners have trusted Alliance Services with their heating and cooling needs for over 25 years. Call today to learn about our hassle-free preventive maintenance plans.