How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer hits its peak, your AC may work extremely hard to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While many 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 hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Discover the many ways weather can have an impact on your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit functions. On very hot days, the AC has to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload might lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

Extreme humidity also presents a challenge. Although air conditioners are made 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 home that your AC isn’t able to cool as well.


Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run constantly, leading to a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or set up correctly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in danger if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can damage a home’s outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, decrease system efficiency or damage the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting might occur, shortening the lifetime of your air conditioning.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to extreme weather, but you can take preventive measures to secure 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 run as intensely, enhancing efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, put the air conditioner 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 work as 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 significant snowfall. Don’t forget, though, to make sure you don’t attempt to turn on 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, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to break under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive 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 consequence of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds an extra form of defense. On the other hand, you could turn 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. Similarly, rising water can flood the internal elements. Make sure your outdoor unit is correctly secured and raised 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 objects that could become dangerous projectiles. This helps avoid 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 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. Check for problems such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, twigs 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 best not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
    • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy expenses, a reduced life span or total system failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to be impacted by severe weather, but it’s critical to be prepared and know 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 staff can handle all your AC service needs in the U.S., including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather affect your family’s comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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