How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner
When summer reaches its peak, your AC may work extremely hard to keep your Longmont home cool and comfortable. While many 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 impact your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and the length of its working life. Learn about the many ways weather can affect your air conditioning and how to protect it.
Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner
Several different weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit works. 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.
Excessive humidity also creates a problem. While air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This might result in decreased performance and a less comfortable home.
Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, 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.
Conversely, the condensing unit is vulnerable if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.
Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can harm the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, reduce system efficiency or dent the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life span of your air conditioning.
The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to severe weather, but you can take measures to protect it. Here’s how to save your air conditioner from severe incoming weather:
- Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to work as vigorously, improving efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, position the AC on the north or east side of your home or in another spot 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 significant snowfall. However, make sure you don’t attempt to operate 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 operating efficiency. 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 timely inspections ensure your system stays 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 an extra form of defense. As an alternative, you can switch off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
- Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to tip or move. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal parts. Be sure your outdoor unit is completely secured and elevated on bricks or platforms designed to protect it from wind and water damage.
- Clear your yard of debris: Always 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 the course of severe weather.
Checking on Your AC After a Storm
In the aftermath of very bad weather, follow these steps to make sure your air conditioner is able to continue to function safety:
- Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go out and examine your unit. Look for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
- Clear debris: Clear away any leaves, sticks and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
- Look for water damage: If your neighborhood has experienced flooding, check 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 inspected.
- Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy bills, a reduced life span or total system disaster.
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 works safely and efficiently. Our team can handle all your AC service needs in Longmont, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather impact your home's comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.