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, you may be no stranger to severe 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 affect your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Various weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit performs. On particularly hot days, the AC has to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The additional workload can lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also presents a potentially tricky situation. Even though air conditioners are supposed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This may result in reduced performance and a home that isn’t as comfortable.


Heat waves force your air conditioner to run continuously, resulting in a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or installed properly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in danger if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can harm a home’s outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, reduce system efficiency or damage the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the lifetime of your system.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to extreme weather, but you can take preventive measures 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 work as intensely, enhancing efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, place the air conditioning 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 are 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 deep snowfall. However, 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 durability. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive inspections ensure your system stays in top-notch condition and is ready to deal with any weather.
    • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common consequence of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra layer of defense. On the other hand, you can power off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
    • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to topple or move. Likewise, rising water can flow through the internal parts. Be sure your outdoor unit is completely secured and lifted up on bricks or platforms designed to protect it from wind and water damage.
    • Clear your yard of debris: Make sure to keep the space around your air conditioner clear of loose items that could become harmful projectiles. This helps avoid 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 be sure your air conditioner is able to continue to run safety:

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outdoors and inspect your unit. Check for issues such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, branches and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
    • Look for water damage: If your neighborhood suffered flooding, look for water damage. If you suspect water got into the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
    • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk increased 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 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 performs safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in the U.S., including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather alter your family’s comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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