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Transitioning Between Cooling and Heating

Around this time of year people start asking questions such as:  how do I start my furnace?  How should I prepare my air conditioner for the winter months?  What steps do I need to take to switch from cooling to heating?  It can seem like there is a lot to do in the fall when it comes to your heating and cooling system, but there is no need to panic, FLAME has got you covered.

Step one is to have your furnace inspected.  Furnace inspections will make sure that your furnace is ready to go this heating season, and it will also include a filter cleaning or change so you can start off fresh.  It is also important to note that if the temperatures drops before you can schedule an inspection, there is no harm in turning the furnace on. It can be switched on prior to the inspection.

Next step is to turn the furnace on.  In order to do  this check out the thermostat for the switch that is labeled:  HEAT COOL OFF.  Then, flip the switch from cool to heat.  Digital thermostats might have an option on the screen or a button instead of a switch.  The temperature is up to you.  If you do not have an air conditioner, or if you have steam heat, the thermostat will not have a HEAT COOL OFF switch.  If for some reason your furnace does not turn on when you switch the thermostat to heat, take a look at the back of the actual furnace for a switch that looks like a light switch.  That switch should also be switched on.

Congratulations!  Your furnace should now be up and running, but there is still more to think about when getting your home ready for the winter.  Another aspect to be considered is the humidifier.  Most forced air systems include a humidifier, and it is important that is cleaned out before the heating seasons begin.  This can be done yourself or by a professional.  In regard to turning the humidifier on, there is usually a humidistat located on the ductwork.  Some newer heating and cooling systems have humidistats built right into the thermostat.  The humidistat, no matter where it is located, allows you to decide on the humidity level.  In general, 40-50% humidity is a good amount for the home.

And the air conditioner?  What should you do with that? Look for a grey electrical box on a wall near the outside condenser unit.  Inside that box is a disconnect switch that should be flipped to off.  This box powers the heat for the oil in the condenser unit during the summer.  It is not needed in the winter, so it might as well be turned off to save money.  After that, there is not much to do. In fact, you should not even put a cover on the outside condenser unit because it could lead to moisture build up.

Any more questions about this transition?  Contact FLAME!

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