How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your air conditioning may work extra 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 severe weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Explore 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 performs. On particularly hot days, the AC is forced to work harder to maintain the set temperature. The larger workload could lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also creates a problem. Even though air conditioners are supposed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This can result in diminished performance and a less comfortable home.


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

Alternatively, the condensing unit is vulnerable if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can damage a home’s outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, decrease system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the life span of your system.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to dangerous weather, but you can take preventive measures to protect 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 hard, increasing efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, place the air conditioner 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 provide 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 heavy snowfall. However, 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 proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s overall health. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to break under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive 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 harm your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra 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: Strong winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to topple or move. Also, rising water can flood the internal components. Ensure 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: Keep the space around your air conditioner clear of loose objects that could become hazardous projectiles. This helps prevent denting and other physical damage during severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of severe 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 out and examine your unit. Search for issues such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
    • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, branches and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
    • Check for water damage: If your neighborhood has experienced 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 serviced.
    • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk higher 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 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 air conditioner performs 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 impact your family’s comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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