As we move into the fall months, you may find yourself reaching for a sweatshirt one day and pulling out your shorts the next. Temperature swings are not uncommon in the Metro East area, and you may be tempted to run the A/C during the Day and the heat at night to keep everyone comfortable. Is that safe and smart for your unit? Ernst Heating & Cooling understands the need for pleasant indoor temps regardless of what’s happening outside, so let’s look at what happens when you switch between A/C and heat.
Is this a good idea?
There’s good news for those who don’t want to choose between cozy evenings and cool days. Switching back and forth between heat and A/C generally won’t cause any issues. You can relax if you’re concerned about higher energy bills or increased wear and tear on your unit. Yes, the switch may slightly increase your system’s workload, so keeping your unit maintained with the Ernst Comfort Plan is essential. But done right, switching shouldn’t cause any significant problems.
What happens if I switch too quickly between A/C and heat?
If you notice a chill after the sun sets, you may be tempted to switch your system from A/C to heat. Be patient. Switching between the two modes too quickly can cause your A/C to short cycle, leading to your compressor locking up.
When your home’s A/C is running, your compressor is working to compress and circulate refrigerant through the system, removing the heat indoors and sending cooler air back into the home. A typical cooling cycle can take about 10 minutes. You’ll hear the A/C kick off after that period and stay off for another 10 minutes while the system prepares for the next cycle. If you turn off the A/C and switch on the heat before the natural cooling cycle finishes, you risk short-cycling the unit because you haven’t given the refrigerant enough time to return to its starting pressure. This can lead to your home’s A/C condenser locking up or blowing a fuse.
Patience is a virtue (and a balm to your HVAC unit)
Instead of switching from A/C to heat or vice versa, build a little time between the cycles. Ensure the current cycle is finished before you switch off the system – you don’t want to interrupt the cycle. Give the system about five to 10 minutes before switching it back on.
Remember, it’s never a good idea to hike up the A/C or the heat on your thermostat. Doing so forces the system to work harder and run longer than necessary, contributing to increased wear and tear. Instead, adjust the thermostat a few degrees at a time to let it catch up to your family’s requirements.
It’s already October, and soon we’ll be talking exclusively about heating your home to make it a cozy respite from the colder outdoor elements. Is your home’s heating system ready? Ernst Heating & Cooling is your Metro East expert for furnaces, boilers, geothermal heat pumps, and more. Stay comfortable this winter with Ernst Heating & Cooling. A timely tune-up before the frigid temperatures hit can catch problems before leaving you out in the cold. Call Ernst Heating & Cooling at 618.217.1836 or schedule an appointment online. We’re with you in any weather.