How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioner may work double-time to keep your Indianapolis home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country are no stranger to extreme weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Learn about the many ways weather can affect your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


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

Extreme humidity also creates a problem. While air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This might result in decreased 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, causing a spike in energy bills. If the system is not designed or set up in the correct way, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, the condensing unit is vulnerable if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can harm your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, cut down on system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the lifetime of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to severe weather, but you can take steps to secure 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 hard, enhancing efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, position the air conditioning unit 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 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 deep snowfall. However, make sure you don’t attempt to turn on the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Routine maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s operating efficiency. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of elevated temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely inspections ensure your system stays 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 ruin your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds an extra level of defense. Alternatively, you can easily power off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Heavy winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to tip or move. Likewise, rising water can flood the internal elements. Make sure your outdoor unit is correctly 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 objects that could become dangerous 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 be sure your air conditioner is able to continue to run safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and inspect your unit. Search for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Get rid of any leaves, twigs and other debris to increase airflow and efficiency.
  • Inspect for water damage: If your area suffered flooding, check 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 timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy costs, 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 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 air conditioner works safely and efficiently. Our team can handle all your AC service needs in Indianapolis, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather affect your family's comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

chat now widget box