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Do you feel like this winter has been perpetually confused? If so, you are not alone. On January 9th, the high was 31 degrees and the low was 9 degrees. On January 12th, the high was 73 degrees! Stark temperature contrasts are the nature of winter weather in the Triangle.

In the Raleigh area, you may need heat one day and a/c the next throughout the winter months. Typically, it is just fine to switch back and forth between heat and air, however there is a right and a wrong time to adjust that dial. In this post, we will discuss the effects of inconsistent HVAC usage, and when you need to act to correct potential issues with your system.

Is it OK to Frequently Switch from Heating to Air Conditioning?

Your heating and air conditioning system is designed to maintain indoor comfort. Generally, it is safe to switch from heating to air conditioning and vice versa in the same day. There is no need to freeze or fry your family. However, it is important to allow your unit to complete its current cycle before making the switch. Allow the compressor to shut off entirely before changing the thermostat setting and temperature.

Signs there May be an Issue with Your HVAC

If your home is often uncomfortable, switching back and forth may be one sign your unit requires repair or replacement. Additional signs the issue may require more attention include:

  • Air conditioner/heater fail to meet the thermostat setting
  • Supply vents blowing cold air when the heat is on and vice versa
  • Heating and air conditioning system frequently trips the breaker
  • Unit runs constantly whether heating or cooling
  • Unit does not turn on when you think it should
  • Excess dust or pet dander in your home

If your heating and air conditioning system engages frequently, but for short intervals, it is called short-cycling. Short-cycling will significantly reduce your system’s efficiency and shorten its lifespan. You can potentially short-cycle your unit if you do not allow it to complete its cycle before switch from heat to a/c. If your unit is short-cycling on its own, it is vital you contact a professional HVAC technician as soon as possible.

Regular HVAC Maintenance is Key to HVAC Efficiency and Longevity

Short-cycling and other HVAC issues are exasperated when heating and air conditioning systems are not properly maintained. To ensure your system will supply warm and cool air when you and your family need it, make sure you regularly following these maintenance steps:

  • Regularly change your air filter.
  • Check for leaks around unit.
  • Remove debris and maintain proper clearance around unit.
  • Keep vents open and unobstructed.
  • Clean outdoor unit fan.

The list above is a snapshot of the routine maintenance required by your home’s heating and air conditioning system. All American Heating and Air Conditioning provide full-service maintenance plans that guarantee homeowners the peace of mind of knowing that their systems are being properly and effectively maintained throughout the year. All American maintenance plans also ensure homeowners are alerted whenever their systems require repair or replacement. Contact us to find out more about maintenance plans and how to avoid short-cycling.

Don Cootware