How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer hits its peak, your air conditioning may work extremely hard to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While a lot of summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country are no stranger to dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with extreme heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Learn about the many ways weather can have an impact on your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit works. On especially hot days, the AC has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. The additional workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also presents a potentially tricky situation. Although air conditioners are designed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This can result in decreased performance and a less comfortable home.


Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run constantly, resulting in a spike in energy bills. If the system is not designed or set up in the correct way, it may be unable to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Conversely, the condensing unit is in jeopardy if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can damage the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, decrease system efficiency or damage the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the life span of your unit.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to extreme weather, but you can take precautions to safeguard it. Here’s how to protect 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, increasing efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, put 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 are a protective shield. During the cooler months or when severe weather is forecast, 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: Performing regular maintenance is a proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s operating efficiency. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of extreme temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely 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 result of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds another level of defense. Alternatively, 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 cooling unit to topple or move. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal elements. Make sure your outdoor unit is completely 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 hazardous projectiles. This helps prevent 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 make sure your air conditioner is able to continue to run safety:

    • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go out and examine your unit. Check for issues such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Get rid of any leaves, sticks and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
    • Inspect for water damage: If your neighborhood sustained flooding, check for water damage. If you think water got into the unit, it’s always better not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
    • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk increased energy bills, a reduced life span or total system failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to deal with severe weather, but it’s critical to be prepared and recognize how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your AC 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—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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