How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your air conditioner may work double-time to keep your Boise 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 impact your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Discover the many ways weather can affect your air conditioning and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Several different weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit works. On very hot days, the AC is forced to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The additional workload can lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also creates a potentially tricky situation. Even though air conditioners are supposed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This may result in diminished performance and a home that isn't as comfortable.


Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run continuously, causing 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 vulnerable if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, decreasing 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 block airflow, cut down on system efficiency or damage 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 measures to secure 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 operate as intensely, improving efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, put 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 deep snowfall. Don't forget, though, to make sure you don’t attempt to run 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 overall health. After all, a regularly serviced air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed inspections ensure your system remains in top-notch condition and is ready to face 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 additional form of defense. On the other hand, you can switch 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 tip or move. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal parts. Make sure your outdoor unit is completely secured and elevated 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 make 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 problems108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Get rid of any leaves, twigs and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Inspect for water damage: If your area sustained flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you suspect water got into the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
  • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy bills, 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 air conditioner works safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Boise, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather alter your indoor comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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