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 dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant heat and humidity, can hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Explore the many ways weather can have an impact on your air conditioning 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 functions. On particularly hot days, the AC must work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload might lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

Extreme humidity also creates a challenge. While air conditioners are supposed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This might result in decreased performance and a home that your AC isn’t able to cool as well.


Heat waves force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, leading to a spike in energy bills. If your AC system is not designed or installed correctly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in jeopardy if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can damage a home’s outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, decrease system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life span of your air conditioning.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to severe weather, but you can take steps to safeguard 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 work as vigorously, improving efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, put 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 provide 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 proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s overall health. After all, a regularly serviced 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 face any weather.
    • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common result of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical elements. Installing a surge protector adds an additional form of defense. As an alternative, you can switch off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
    • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can flow through the internal components. Be sure your outdoor unit is properly secured and raised 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 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 run safety:

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and view your unit. Look for issues such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, sticks and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
    • Look for water damage: If your neighborhood suffered flooding, check for water damage. If you suspect water entered the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
    • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy costs, a reduced life span or total system failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to feel the impact of 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 AC works safely and efficiently. Our team 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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