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How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches 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 areas of the country are no stranger to extreme 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. Learn about the many ways weather can have an impact on your air conditioning and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner

Performance

A variety of weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit functions. On particularly hot days, the AC must work harder to maintain the set temperature. The additional workload can lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also poses a challenge. While air conditioners are supposed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This might result in reduced performance and a home that your AC isn’t able to cool as well.

Efficiency

Heat waves force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, resulting in a spike in energy bills. If the system is not designed or installed properly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is vulnerable if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly wrecking 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 prevent airflow, reduce system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the lifetime of your air conditioning.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

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

    • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to operate as vigorously, improving efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, place the air conditioning 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 work as a protective shield. During the cooler months or when severe weather is expected, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep 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: Scheduled maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s durability. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive 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 consequence of storms that can ruin your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra form of defense. As an alternative, you can easily turn 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. Also, 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 items that could become harmful projectiles. This helps protect against denting and other physical damage from 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 function safety:

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go out and inspect your unit. Check for problems such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clear away any leaves, tree limbs and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
    • Look for water damage: If your area has experienced flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you think water has entered the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
    • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy expenses, a reduced life span or total system breakdown.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to be impacted by 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 team can handle all your AC service needs in the U.S., including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your family’s comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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