How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your air conditioning may work extremely hard to keep your Raleigh home cool and comfortable. While a lot of summer days are warm and beautiful, you may be 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 influence your air conditioning 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 functions. On particularly hot days, the AC has to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload can lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also creates a problem. Even though air conditioners are supposed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This can result in reduced performance and a home that your AC isn't able to cool as well.


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

Conversely, the condensing unit is at risk if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can damage your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, cut down on system efficiency or damage the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the lifetime of your system.

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to severe weather, but you can take preventive measures to safeguard it. Here’s how to save your air conditioner from severe incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to run as hard, increasing efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, position the AC 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 winter season or when severe weather is forecast, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep snowfall. Just 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 simple and easy measure to enhance your AC unit’s resilience. 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 stays in top-notch condition and is ready to deal with any weather.
  • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common byproduct of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds another form of defense. As an alternative, you can turn off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Strong winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to topple or move. Also, rising water can flood the internal elements. Make sure your outdoor unit is correctly secured and raised 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 hazardous projectiles. This helps avoid denting and other physical damage from severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of very bad 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 outside and view your unit. Look for problems108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, sticks and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your property suffered flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you think water has entered the unit, it’s always better not to turn it on until you have it professionally serviced.
  • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy costs, 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 crucial 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 conditioning system runs safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Raleigh, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your home's comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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