How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioner may work double-time to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, you may be no stranger to severe weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Explore the many ways weather can affect your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner

Performance

Various weather conditions affect how well your air conditioning unit performs. On particularly hot days, the AC must work harder to maintain the set temperature. The increased workload might lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also poses a challenge. While air conditioners are designed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This might result in decreased performance and a less comfortable home.

Efficiency

Heat waves force your air conditioner to run constantly, leading to a spike in energy bills. If the system is not designed or installed correctly, it may struggle to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Conversely, the condensing unit is at risk if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can damage the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, reduce system efficiency or dent the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the life of your unit.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to severe weather, but you can take precautions to safeguard it. Here’s how to shield your air conditioner from harsh incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to work as hard, improving efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, position the AC on the north or east side of your home or somewhere else shaded during the hot afternoon.
  • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers provide a protective shield. During the off-season or when severe weather is forecast, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and heavy snowfall. Just make sure you don’t attempt to operate the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Routine maintenance is a proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s resilience. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely inspections ensure your system remains in top-notch condition and is ready to face any weather.
  • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common byproduct of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra layer of defense. Alternatively, you can power off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Heavy winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to topple or move. Likewise, rising water can flood the internal components. Ensure your outdoor unit is properly secured and elevated on bricks or platforms designed to protect it from wind and water damage.
  • Clear your yard of debris: Keep the space around your air conditioner clear of loose objects that could become dangerous projectiles. This helps prevent denting and other physical damage during severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of severe weather, follow these steps to ensure your air conditioner is able to continue to operate safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and inspect your unit. Look for damage such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, branches and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your property has experienced flooding, check for water damage. If you suspect water has entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
  • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy costs, a reduced life span or total system failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to deal with severe weather, but it’s crucial to be prepared and know how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your air conditioner operates safely and efficiently. Our team can handle all your AC service needs in the U.S., including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather affect your indoor comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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