Temperature fluctuations at least seem to be a lot more turbulent than in past decades, but there are still major separations between typical summer and winter temperatures. As comfort levels switch between needing cool air conditioning or heater assistance, you need to be aware of how these systems can suffer in performance after months of non-use. Here are a few inspection and repair issues to keep in mind before a major season change puts you in a comfort bind:
Filter Selection And Inspection
There are many different types of filters to choose from, but it's not as easy as getting the "best" or "most strict" filter option. The more selective the filter, the faster it will clog up from doing its job.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are designed to be a middle ground in terms of catching small forms of debris and contaminants by using multiple layers. Smaller debris will be caught in later stages, meaning that you won't have all contaminants simply bunching up on a single layer. It will still clog, or at least slow down air flow faster than some filter types, but it's a relatively useful mid-price.
If you have specific filtration needs, such as removing pollen or animal dander (hair, dandruff, and other scalp-related debris), there are specific filters for those needs. For all filters, read the suggested replacement or cleaning time and look for any damage that could be allowing debris to enter.
Air Duct Cleaning Concerns
When any air system hasn't been used in months, there will be dust and other debris settling in the ventilation/ductwork. These air paths would normally keep debris moving around through a filter system or would block debris from entering the vents because of the outward motion of air, but an unused system can send a blast of foul air and dust when it starts.
A contractor can handle deep ventilation cleaning and is especially necessary if foul smells are a constant issue from the ventilation. The smell could just be from burnt debris, but there could be dead pests or sticky nest material inside that continues to burn.
Heating systems have an especially foul issue after not being used for months--sometimes weeks, depending on your dust or debris situation. If the smell of burning dust doesn't leave your home in less than a week, make sure a professional checks it out.
Contact an air conditioning and heating professional to discuss more inspection points to keep your building's airways clear. Check out a website like http://www.advancedheatingandcooling.com for more information and assistance.