How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your AC may work double-time 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 longevity. Explore the many ways weather can affect your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions affect how well your air conditioning unit functions. On very hot days, the AC is forced to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The larger workload might lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also presents a problem. Although air conditioners are supposed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This might result in diminished performance and a home that isn’t as comfortable.


Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run constantly, causing 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.

Conversely, the condensing unit is in danger if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of 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 block airflow, reduce system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the lifetime of your air conditioning.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to severe weather, but you can take steps to protect 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 operate as intensely, enhancing efficiency and extending 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 predicted, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and significant snowfall. Don’t forget, though, to make sure you don’t attempt to operate the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Performing regular maintenance is a simple and easy measure to enhance your AC unit’s durability. After all, a regularly serviced air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of elevated temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed inspections ensure your system remains in top-notch condition and is ready to deal with any weather.
  • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common consequence of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical elements. Installing a surge protector adds an additional layer of defense. On the other hand, you could turn off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can cover the internal components. Ensure 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 items 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 extreme weather, follow these steps to be sure your air conditioner is able to continue to run safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outdoors and view your unit. Search for issues 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.
  • Inspect for water damage: If your area suffered flooding, check for water damage. If you believe water has entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally serviced.
  • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk increased energy expenses, 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 HVAC system operates safely and efficiently. Our team 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—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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