How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer hits its peak, your AC may work extra hard to keep your Saint Charles 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 significant heat and humidity, can impact your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Learn about the many ways weather can affect your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit performs. On especially hot days, the AC is forced to work harder to achieve the set temperature. The additional workload could lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also poses a problem. Even though air conditioners are made26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This can result in reduced performance and a home that your AC isn't able to cool as well.


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

In contrast, the condensing unit is in danger if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, limiting efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can harm a home's outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, decrease system efficiency or dent the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the lifetime of your air conditioning.

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to severe 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 work as intensely, increasing efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, place the AC 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 work as 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 significant snowfall. Just 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 simple and easy measure to enhance your AC unit’s overall health. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of elevated temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive 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 ruin your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds another level of defense. As an alternative, you could switch off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can cover the internal components. Make 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 things 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 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. Look for issues108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clear away any leaves, sticks and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
  • Inspect for water damage: If your neighborhood has experienced flooding, look for water damage. If you think water has entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
  • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk higher 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 crucial 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 performs safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in Saint Charles, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather alter your indoor comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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