How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioning may work extremely hard to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While a lot of summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to extreme weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Learn about the many ways weather can have an impact on your air conditioning and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Several different weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit works. On especially hot days, the AC has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. The increased workload could lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

Extreme humidity also creates a potentially tricky situation. Even though air conditioners are made to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This can result in reduced performance and a home that isn’t as comfortable.


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

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

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can harm a home’s outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, cut down on system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life 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 protect 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 hard, enhancing efficiency and lengthening 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 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. Just make sure you don’t attempt to run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
    • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Routine maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s resilience. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of extreme 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 byproduct of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical elements. Installing a surge protector adds another form of defense. As an alternative, you could power 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 flood the internal parts. Be sure your outdoor unit is correctly secured and lifted up 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 objects that could become hazardous 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 extreme weather, follow these steps to ensure your air conditioner is able to continue to function safety:

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go out and inspect your unit. Look for problems such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Get rid of any leaves, twigs and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
    • Check for water damage: If your property suffered flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you think water has entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
    • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy bills, a reduced life span or total system failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to deal with severe weather, but it’s essential 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 runs 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 impact your indoor comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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