Switching From Heat to Air Conditioning: What You Need to Know

Woman adjusting thermostat inside home

Anyone living in this part of the country knows there are times during the year when you feel like you’re experiencing multiple seasons in a single day. The mornings can start chilly, lead into a hot afternoon, and cool down for the evening. For those who like to use their HVAC system to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the day, you may need to switch from air conditioning to heat and vice versa. This can make some homeowners wonder, “Is switching from heat to air conditioning bad?” Can you damage your system by going back and forth between heating and air conditioning? Is there a right way and a wrong way to do it?

In this post, we’ll discuss whether switching from heat to air conditioning is bad and explain how to do it, so you can keep your home at comfortable temperatures all year without running up your energy bill or wearing out your HVAC system. 

Is It Okay to Switch Between Heat and AC?

Is switching from heat to air conditioning bad for your HVAC system? The quick answer is no. It’s not bad to switch between cooling your home and heating it on the same day — but only if you do it correctly. Most modern HVAC systems are robust enough to allow switching back and forth from heat to AC on the same day and will let you do it easily using the thermostat. But you can put unnecessary strain on your system and waste extra money on your gas and electric bill by doing it incorrectly, causing sudden changes that can also strain the HVAC system’s components. That can lead to the following:

  • Causing the compressor to lock
  • Overworking the blower motor
  • Creating condensation buildup
  • And more

Any of these issues can lead to damage — requiring costly repairs to your HVAC system. So, though it is okay to switch between heat and AC, it’s important to know the right way to do it.

The Right Way to Switch From Heat to AC

On the days when Mother Nature can’t make up her mind, it’s okay to switch between heat and AC. You can do so without causing any strain on your system or your wallet. Follow these steps to switch between heat and AC or from AC to heat as smoothly and efficiently as possible: 

  • Wait for the current cycle to finish: If the heater or AC is running (blowing hot or cold air), wait until the cycle is complete and the air stops blowing.
  • Turn off the unit: Using the thermostat, set the system to OFF.
  • Wait 5 minutes: Waiting 5 minutes before turning the thermostat back on allows the system to stabilize, which helps avoid unnecessary work or stress. 
  • Adjust the thermostat gradually: After 5 minutes, turn the thermostat back on and adjust the temperature. Instead of making significant changes to the setting, raise or lower the temperature gradually by one to three degrees at a time. When the temperature reaches that level, raise or lower it another one to three degrees and repeat this process until it reaches the desired temperature. Slowly adjusting your thermostat will prevent the system from overworking and help extend its lifespan. 

Stay Up-to-Date on Maintenance

It’s not bad to switch from heat to air conditioning on the same day. Your HVAC system is designed to handle going back and forth between heating and cooling when done correctly. However, doing so can make your unit work harder, so it’s essential to ensure your system is inspected and maintained regularly. HVAC systems should be serviced twice a year — once before the warmer seasons and once before the colder seasons — to ensure that the heater and air conditioner are in working order. When you need inspections or maintenance, call Neighborhood Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Electrical. We provide air conditioning and heating services in Elk River, MN, and can perform preventive maintenance to ensure that your HVAC system is ready to work efficiently for you all year.

If your system is not working, we also provide heating and AC repair in St. Cloud, MN, as well as the surrounding areas. When the weather warrants it, you don’t have to worry whether it’s okay to switch between heat and AC with Neighborhood Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Electrical there to make sure your system keeps working when you need it the most.

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