How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your air conditioning may work double-time to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While many summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant heat and humidity, can impact your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and the length of its working life. Learn about the many ways weather can influence your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit performs. On especially hot days, the AC has to work harder to achieve the set temperature. The increased workload can lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also creates a potentially tricky situation. Although air conditioners are made to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This can result in decreased performance and a home that your AC isn’t able to cool as well.


Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run constantly, resulting in a spike in energy bills. If your AC system is not designed or set up in the correct way, it may be unable to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

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

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can damage the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, reduce system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life span of your unit.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

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

    • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to run as vigorously, increasing efficiency and extending 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 cooler months or when severe weather is predicted, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and heavy 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: Scheduled maintenance is a proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s durability. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of elevated temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed inspections ensure your system continues to be 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 byproduct of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds another layer of defense. On the other hand, you can switch off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
    • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Strong winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to fall over or move. Also, rising water can cover 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 things that could become harmful projectiles. This helps protect against 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 operate safety:

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and inspect your unit. Look for problems such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, branches and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
    • Inspect for water damage: If your property suffered flooding, check for water damage. If you believe water has entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
    • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay 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 deal with severe weather, but it’s essential to be prepared and recognize how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your AC runs 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 alter your indoor comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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