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Does the Switch From the AC to Heater Create Problems?

sun-and-snowflake-badgeThe weather conditions in Florida can be tricky during the fall and winter. We often deal with weather that doesn’t know exactly what it wants to do, and for a beleaguered homeowner like yourself that can mean not knowing what to do about setting temperatures and turning either the heater or air conditioner on and off. We know this is a problem people in the upper Midwest envy. But this switch back and forth between systems can get bewildering, and it raises some questions.

Here’s one we often hear: “Will I damage my HVAC system if I have to switch it often between heating and cooling?”

You Should Be in Good Shape!

The simple answer is no. Changing between your heating and cooling system isn’t the same as suddenly shoving a car into reverse while driving, which can shred the gears. This isn’t how furnaces, air conditioners, or heat pumps operate. For example, a heat pump does both heating and cooling, but when it changes between the two, it doesn’t significantly alter how it works. A reversing valve switches on to change the direction of refrigerant flow, and it’s designed to cycle through the process without making any abrupt, damaging shift. 

There Are Still Some Things to Keep in Mind

One of the concerns about shutting down the cooling system to switch heating is the locked-up compressor. Yes, this can happen, but the easiest way to avoid it is to have a five-minute delay between ending cooling and starting heating. In fact, this is even easier than it sounds, because modern thermostats are programmed to create this five-minute delay on their own. We aren’t even talking about top-of-the-line Wi-Fi/smart thermostats either. If you have a digital programmable thermostat, it has this five-minute delay built-in. 

For old manual thermostats, we recommend more caution: allow for the five-minute break when you shut down either the heater or air conditioner before you change over to the other unit. We also recommend calling us for air conditioning service in Wesley Chapel, FL to update your HVAC system with a new thermostat! You get the five-minute delay plus better comfort performance and energy savings.

Be Cautious of When You Run the AC and Heater

Both your air conditioner and your heater are designed to run when their services are needed: an AC when it’s hot, a heater when it’s cold. This makes sense, but it’s easy to sometimes overlook this and try to put the systems to work when there isn’t much need for it—and this can lead to damage. If temperatures outdoors are below 60°F, don’t run the AC; the compressor might lock up. If temperatures outdoors are above 85°F, don’t run the heater. We know this just seems like common sense, but mistakes can happen when temperatures make sudden shifts during the day, and we know that Florida is a place where this often happens. Make sure that you have your thermostat programmed so the heater and AC only run when they should.

Experience Comfort! Call on Balanced Air, Inc. for all your home comfort needs in the Tampa Bay Area. 

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