How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioning may work extra hard to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While plenty of 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 impact your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Explore the many ways weather can affect your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Various weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit performs. On particularly hot days, the AC has to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The larger workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also poses a problem. While air conditioners are designed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This might result in reduced performance and a home that isn’t as comfortable.


Heat waves force your air conditioner to run constantly, leading to a spike in energy bills. If the system is not designed or installed in the correct way, it may be unable to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is at risk if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can harm the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, reduce system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting might occur, shortening the life span of your unit.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to dangerous weather, but you can take precautions to safeguard it. Here’s how to shield your air conditioner from damaging incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to run as vigorously, enhancing efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, place the air conditioning 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 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 turn on the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Scheduled maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s resilience. After all, a regularly serviced air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of elevated temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely inspections ensure your system continues to be 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 hardware. Installing a surge protector adds another level of defense. Alternatively, you can easily turn off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Strong winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can flood the internal elements. 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: Make sure to keep the space around your air conditioner clear of loose things that could become harmful projectiles. This helps prevent denting and other physical damage during severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of very bad weather, follow these steps to ensure your air conditioner is able to continue to run safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outdoors and view your unit. Check for issues such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, sticks and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your property suffered flooding, look 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 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 failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to deal with severe weather, but it’s critical to be prepared and understand how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your HVAC system works safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in the U.S., including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your indoor comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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