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The Switch from Cooling to Heating

Fall is in the air, that is for sure. School is back in session, Halloween decorations are out, and you can hear families discuss weekend trips to the apple orchard. What fall also brings with it is the inevitable transition from the cooling season to the heating season. Though the crisper temperatures may initially bring relief from the hot mugginess of summer, you may start wondering what you should do now. What are the procedures for switching from the air conditioner to the furnace? How should I prepare my air conditioner for winter? How do I start my furnace?

The first step is to have your furnace inspected before the heating season truly begins. This will ensure that your system is in tiptop shape, and it includes a filter change or cleaning so that you will be starting off fresh. However, if you scheduled one for a little later and the temperatures drop before you think they will, you can still turn on your furnace before the inspection.

To turn the furnace on, simply look for the switch on your thermostat labeled: HEAT COOL OFF and flip the switch from cool to heat. Newer digital thermostats may have a button or option on the digital screen rather than a switch. The temperature does not have to be set at a specific p; thatthat is a personal preference. If you have steam heat or do not have an air conditioner, your thermostat will not have a HEAT COOL OFF switch.

If you turn the thermostat from cool to heat, and it is not working, then it is time to take a trip to the furnace. Look for a switch on the side of the furnace that looks like a light switch. Make sure that switch is also switched on.

Now that you have the heat up and running, and you can take that extra sweatshirt you’ve been walking around wearing off, it is time to think about what else goes into transitioning from cooling to heating. For example, the humidifier. Most forced air systems come with them, and you want to be sure that yours is cleaned out before you start using it for the winter. You can do this yourself or call a professional. To turn the humidifier on, there is a control called a humidistat that is typically mounted on the ductwork. Some newer thermostats, such as the ones that are part of the Carrier Infinity or Bryant Evolution systems, have humidistat controls built into the thermostat. The humidistat will allow you to choose a percentage of relative humidity ranging from 0-60/70% humidity. Though this is a personal preference, keeping your home at about 40-50% humidity in the winter is ideal. At the beginning of fall, your humidifier may not be as necessary due to the lingering natural humidity in the air from the summer.

All right, your heating system is all set to go. Now what about that air conditioner? For the most part, you do not have to do anything. You should not put a cover over the air conditioner. Why? Because a cover will not allow all the moisture and condensation on the condenser unit to escape, which could lead to moisture buildup.

What you should do is look for the grey electrical box outside against a wall near your condenser unit. Once this is located, open the door, pull the disconnect, and flip the switch to “off.”  This electrical box runs the heat for the oil in the condenser unit in the summer. You do not need the power in the winter, so you may as well turn it off and save some money on utility bills.

All right, got it all? If you have any questions or any difficulties completing any of these steps, please feel free to Contact FLAME! We will be more than happy to help.

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