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Switching from Heat to Air Conditioning

Apr 17, 2019


Warm weather is finally here to stay and homeowners across the Washington, D.C. metro area are in the midst of preparing for the summer season ahead. The number one item on every homeowner’s checklist should be air conditioning maintenance. Trust us — you do not want to deal with a busted AC unit in the middle of a July heat wave.

Best Practices for Switching from Heat to Air Conditioning

Get ready for the rising temperatures by preparing your HVAC system for the cooling season. Follow these tips when switching from heat to air conditioning:

Turn off the Heating Unit

Start with the obvious. The first step in the process of switching from heat to AC is turning off the heat. Most heating systems can be shut down from the thermostat, however, if you have an older furnace with a pilot light, you’ll want to turn off the gas supply.
In order to keep your heating system in good working condition until you need it again in the fall, it’s important to perform some routine maintenance tasks. Here’s how you can properly shut down your heating system for the off season:
Replace Furnace Filters
Get an early start on your fall maintenance to-do list by replacing old furnace filters before you retire your heating unit for the summer.
Over time, dust and debris can build up on your furnace filters, forcing your heating system to work harder to circulate warm air throughout your home. Clogged furnace filters can also aggravate allergy symptoms. If you or your family members suffer from allergies, you may want to consider upgrading to a HEPA filter to prevent allergens from contaminating the air in your home. 
Address Outstanding Maintenance Issues
If your heating unit experienced any performance issues throughout the winter, consider consulting an HVAC technician to inspect your system and perform a heating repair or replacement if needed. Tackling heating maintenance ahead of time will save you trouble later down the line when the weather cools off again.

Clean Vents and Air Ducts

Consider scheduling a professional duct cleaning before turning on the AC for the summer. Common allergens like dust, pet dander, and even mold can build up in your vents, which can make it difficult to keep your home clean and lead to diminished air quality.
Other ways you can prevent dust and debris from accumulating in your vents include:
  • Cleaning vent covers
  • Regularly replacing air filters
  • Using a dehumidifier, which reduces the risk of mold and dust mites
  • Vacuuming with a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter bag
  • Eliminating clutter around your home
  • Turning on the bathroom fan when showering to prevent mold growth

Prepare the Air Conditioning Unit

Before you can crank up the AC, there are a few air conditioning maintenance tasks that need to be handled.
Important note: Before you begin working on your HVAC system, remember to shut down power to the unit. Cutting the power to your HVAC system prevents the risk of electrocution while performing maintenance. You can shut down the power by locating your HVAC exterior power circuit, usually mounted to the side of your home in a small box, and flipping the switch to the “off” position.
Remove the AC Unit Cover
First and foremost, remove any vinyl or plastic air conditioner cover that was used to insulate the unit and protect it from damage throughout the winter. We highly recommend using some sort of protective cover during the off season.
Clean the AC Unit
Make sure that your air conditioning operates at peak efficiency all summer long by removing any debris, like leaves or twigs, that has accumulated on or around your HVAC unit. It’s also important to clean any dust or dirt that has built up vents or other critical cooling parts, like the evaporator coil.
Inspect the Unit for Damage
Cracks, leaks, and rust can cause serious problems for your HVAC system in the future, so it’s best to check for any damage or irregularities and contact one of our HVAC technicians as soon as possible.
HVAC companies are entering the busy season for cooling. The sooner you identify any potential problems and schedule an appointment, the better.

Turn on the AC

Once your HVAC unit has been adequately prepped for use, you can turn the air conditioning on from your thermostat — but ease into it.
Blasting the AC at 60 degrees the first time you turn it on for the season is a recipe for a disaster. If there are any underlying issues with your HVAC system that have yet to be identified, cranking the AC can put unnecessary strain on the unit and cause even more damage.
Follow these steps to ensure your air conditioning is running properly:
  • Turn the air conditioning on and set the thermostat just a few degrees below the current temperature of your home in order to avoid shocking the system.
  • Once you’ve turned on the AC, step outside and make sure the outdoor HVAC unit, also known as the condenser, is running. You should hear the fan begin to whir within a few minutes of turning the air on.
  • When the condenser kicks on, step back inside and check all vents to make sure cool air is flowing throughout your home.

Schedule an Air Conditioning Inspection

After running through this checklist, make sure to book an air conditioning maintenance inspection before the weather really starts to heat up.
Air conditioning repairs or replacement should be taken care of early so you can have peace of mind knowing your cooling system won’t break down in the middle of the summer. Our 5-Star Technicians will make sure your system is working correctly and at peak efficiency to handle the heat that lies ahead.
If an air conditioner replacement is suggested, consider upgrading to an energy-efficient air conditioning model to save money on cooling costs throughout the summer.
Call CroppMetcalfe’s HVAC experts at 703-698-8855 or schedule an appointment online today.


What Our Customers Say...

"I've been a CroppMetcalfe customer for 9 years and you have always provided outstanding service. I just had my semi-annual maintenance done, and I wanted to thank George for the truly outstanding service, professionalism, and excellent advice. He is definitely one of the best 5-Star Technicians I've had! Thank you CroppMetcalfe!"

Bill H