How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your AC 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 dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with extreme heat and humidity, can hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Learn about the many ways weather can affect your air conditioning and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner

Performance

Several different weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit functions. On particularly hot days, the AC has to work harder to achieve the set temperature. The larger workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also poses a challenge. Although air conditioners are designed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This may result in diminished performance and a less comfortable home.

Efficiency

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

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in jeopardy if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use 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

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can harm the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, decrease system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting might occur, shortening the life of your air conditioning.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to severe weather, but you can take steps to take care of it. Here’s how to protect your air conditioner from damaging incoming weather:

    • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to run as vigorously, improving efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, place the AC 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 are a protective shield. During the off-season or when severe weather is predicted, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and heavy snowfall. However, make sure you don’t attempt to run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
    • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Routine maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s durability. After all, a regularly serviced air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed inspections ensure your system remains in top-notch condition and is ready to keep you cool and comfortable in any weather.
    • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common result of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra form of defense. As an alternative, you could switch off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
    • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Heavy winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to topple or move. Likewise, rising water can flood the internal elements. Be 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 avoid denting and other physical damage from severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of severe weather, follow these steps to be sure your air conditioner is able to continue to function safety:

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and inspect your unit. Search for damage such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, tree limbs and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
    • Check for water damage: If your neighborhood sustained flooding, look for water damage. If you think water got into the unit, it’s always better not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
    • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy costs, a reduced life span or total system breakdown.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to feel the impact of severe weather, but it’s critical to be prepared and recognize how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your HVAC system operates safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in the U.S., including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your home’s comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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