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 people are no stranger to severe weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with extreme heat and humidity, can hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and the length of its working life. Discover the many ways weather can have an impact on your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Several different weather conditions can alter 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 can lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also poses a challenge. While 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 decreased performance and a less comfortable home.


Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, causing a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or put in correctly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in jeopardy if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, limiting efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can damage your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, reduce system efficiency or damage the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting might occur, shortening the lifetime of your system.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to dangerous weather, but you can take steps to take care of it. Here’s how to protect your air conditioner from harsh incoming weather:

    • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to run as hard, increasing 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 work as a protective shield. During the winter season or when severe weather is expected, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep snowfall. Just make sure you don’t attempt to operate the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
    • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Scheduled maintenance is a simple and easy 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 extreme temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive 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 result of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical elements. Installing a surge protector adds an extra level of defense. Alternatively, you can easily switch off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
    • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Strong winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to topple or move. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal components. Be sure your outdoor unit is correctly 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 protect against denting and other physical damage from 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 examine your unit. Look for problems such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clear away any leaves, sticks and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
    • Look for water damage: If your property suffered flooding, check for water damage. If you suspect water got into the unit, it’s always better not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
    • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy costs, 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 know how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your air conditioning 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 impact your home’s comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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