How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioning may work double-time to keep your Austin home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, you may be no stranger to dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Explore the many ways weather can influence your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Several different weather conditions affect how well your air conditioning unit functions. On particularly hot days, the AC must work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The larger workload might lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also creates a problem. Although air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This might result in decreased performance and a home that isn't as comfortable.


Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run constantly, leading to a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or put in properly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, the condensing unit is vulnerable if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, limiting efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can inflict damage on a home's outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, reduce system efficiency or dent the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the lifetime of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to severe weather, but you can take preventive measures to take care of it. Here’s how to shield your air conditioner from harsh 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, put the AC on the north or east side of your home or in another place that is shaded during the hot afternoon.
  • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers are 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 heavy snowfall. However, make sure you don’t attempt to operate 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 durability. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed inspections ensure your system continues to be in top-notch condition and is ready to deal with any weather.
  • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common result of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical elements. Installing a surge protector adds another layer of defense. Alternatively, you can easily turn 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 fall over or move. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal components. Be sure your outdoor unit is properly secured and elevated 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 dangerous 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 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 examine your unit. Check for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clear away 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 believe water has entered the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
  • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy bills, 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 crucial 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 performs safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in Austin, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather affect your family's comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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