How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer hits its peak, your AC may work double-time to keep your Champaign home cool and comfortable. While plenty 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 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


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

Excessive humidity also creates a challenge. While air conditioners are made26 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 isn't as comfortable.


Heat waves force your air conditioner to run continuously, causing a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or installed properly, it may struggle to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

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

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can harm your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, reduce system efficiency or dent the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life span of your air conditioning.

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to extreme weather, but you can take preventive measures to take care of 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, enhancing efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, position 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 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 heavy snowfall. Just 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 simple and easy measure to enhance your AC unit’s resilience. After all, a regularly serviced 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 remains in top-notch condition and is ready to face any weather.
  • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common consequence of storms that can ruin your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds another level of defense. As an alternative, you can easily 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 tip or move. Likewise, rising water can flow through the internal parts. Be sure your outdoor unit is correctly secured and elevated on bricks or platforms designed to protect it from wind and water damage.
  • Clear your yard of debris: Make sure to keep the space around your air conditioner clear of loose things that could become harmful projectiles. This helps protect against denting and other physical damage during the course of 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 outside and view your unit. Look for issues108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, twigs and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Look for water damage: If your area sustained flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you believe water entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
  • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk increased energy bills, a reduced life span or total system breakdown.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to deal with severe weather, but it’s crucial to be prepared and recognize how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your air conditioner runs safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Champaign, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your indoor comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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