How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your AC may work extra hard to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While a lot of summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country are no stranger to dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with extreme heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and the length of its working life. Discover the many ways weather can influence your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner

Performance

Several different weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit functions. On particularly hot days, the AC is forced to work harder to achieve the set temperature. The additional workload can lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also creates a potentially tricky situation. Even though air conditioners are made to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This can result in reduced performance and a less comfortable home.

Efficiency

Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run continuously, leading to a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or installed in the correct way, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, the condensing unit is at risk if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can damage your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, cut down on system efficiency or dent the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the life span of your system.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to dangerous weather, but you can take steps to protect it. Here’s how to save your air conditioner from damaging incoming weather:

    • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to operate as hard, increasing efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, put the air conditioning on the north or east side of your home or in another place that is shaded during the hot afternoon.
    • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers work as a protective shield. During the cooler months or when severe weather is expected, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep snowfall. Don’t forget, though, to make sure you don’t attempt to run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
    • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Performing regular maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s overall health. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to break under the stress of elevated temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive inspections ensure your system stays 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 harm your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds another level of defense. Alternatively, you can turn off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
    • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can flood the internal parts. Make sure your outdoor unit is completely secured and raised 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 items that could become harmful projectiles. This helps prevent denting and other physical damage during severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

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

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go out and view your unit. Search for damage such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, branches and other debris to increase airflow and efficiency.
    • Look for water damage: If your property has experienced flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you think water got into the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
    • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy expenses, a reduced life span or total system failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to feel the impact of severe weather, but it’s essential to be prepared and understand how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your air conditioning system runs 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 influence your indoor comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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