How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner
When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioner may work double-time to keep your the U.S. home cool and comfortable. While many summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country are no stranger to dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant heat and humidity, can hinder 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
Various weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit performs. On especially hot days, the AC has to work harder to achieve the set temperature. The larger workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.
High humidity also presents a potentially tricky situation. While air conditioners are designed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This might result in diminished performance and a less comfortable home.
Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, leading to a spike in energy bills. If your AC system is not designed or put in in the correct way, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.
Alternatively, the condensing unit is in jeopardy if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.
Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can damage a home’s outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, decrease system efficiency or damage the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the life of your unit.
Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather
The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to extreme weather, but you can take steps to take care of it. Here’s how to save your air conditioner from harsh incoming weather:
- Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to work as hard, increasing efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, place 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 are a protective shield. During the off-season or when severe weather is expected, 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: Scheduled maintenance is a proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s overall health. After all, a regularly serviced air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely inspections ensure your system stays in top-notch condition and is ready to keep you cool and comfortable in 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 an additional form of defense. As an alternative, you can easily power off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
- Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to topple or move. Similarly, rising water can flood the internal elements. Be sure 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 things that could become dangerous projectiles. This helps avoid 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 make 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. Check for damage such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
- Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, sticks and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
- Check for water damage: If your area suffered flooding, look for water damage. If you suspect water entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
- Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy costs, a reduced life span or total system disaster.
Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
No one wants to deal with severe weather, but it’s critical 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 runs safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in the U.S., including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather alter your indoor comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.
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