How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to 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 hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and the length of its working life. Explore the many ways weather can affect your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Various weather conditions affect how well your air conditioning unit works. On especially hot days, the AC must work harder to achieve the set temperature. The larger workload can lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also presents a potentially tricky situation. Although air conditioners are supposed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This can result in diminished performance and a home that isn’t as comfortable.


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

In contrast, the condensing unit is in jeopardy if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can harm the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, decrease system efficiency or dent the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting might occur, shortening the life of your air conditioning.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to extreme weather, but you can take preventive measures to safeguard it. Here’s how to save 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, enhancing efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, place the air conditioner on the north or east side of your home or somewhere else shaded during the hot afternoon.
    • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers provide a protective shield. During the winter season or when severe weather is predicted, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and heavy snowfall. Just make sure you don’t attempt to run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
    • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Performing regular maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s durability. After all, an efficient 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 face any weather.
    • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common consequence of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra level of defense. Alternatively, you can power off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
    • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to topple or move. Similarly, rising water can flood the internal elements. Be sure your outdoor unit is properly secured and lifted up 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 items that could become harmful projectiles. This helps protect against denting and other physical damage during the course of severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of severe 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. Search for problems such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, tree limbs and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
    • Look for water damage: If your neighborhood has experienced flooding, check for water damage. If you believe water got into the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally serviced.
    • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy expenses, 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 air conditioning system operates 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 alter your family’s comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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