How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioning may work double-time to keep your Columbia 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 high heat and humidity, can hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Explore the many ways weather can influence your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Several different weather conditions affect how well your air conditioning unit works. On very hot days, the AC must work harder to achieve the set temperature. The larger workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also presents a challenge. Even though air conditioners are designed26 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 your AC isn't able to cool as well.


Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, 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.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is at risk if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

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

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to dangerous weather, but you can take precautions to protect 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 operate as vigorously, improving efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, position the air conditioning unit 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 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: Performing regular maintenance is a simple and easy measure to enhance your AC unit’s operating efficiency. After all, a regularly serviced air conditioner is less likely to break under the stress of extreme temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed 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 elements. Installing a surge protector adds an additional level of defense. Alternatively, you can easily power off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Heavy winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to tip or move. Likewise, rising water can flow through the internal parts. Ensure 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: Make sure to keep the space around your air conditioner clear of loose objects that could become dangerous projectiles. This helps prevent denting and other physical damage during the course of 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 operate safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go out and inspect your unit. Search for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, branches and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Inspect for water damage: If your area suffered flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you suspect water has entered the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
  • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk increased energy expenses, 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 critical to be prepared and know how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your HVAC system runs safely and efficiently. Our team can handle all your AC service needs in Columbia, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather impact 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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