How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioner may work double-time to keep your Atlanta home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to dangerous 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 have an impact on your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


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

Excessive humidity also presents a problem. Even though air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This may result in diminished performance and a home that your AC isn't able to cool as well.


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

Alternatively, the condensing unit is at risk 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 ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can damage the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, cut down on system efficiency or damage the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the lifetime of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to dangerous weather, but you can take precautions to safeguard 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 run as intensely, improving 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 spot that is shaded during the hot afternoon.
  • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers provide a protective shield. During the winter season or when severe weather is forecast, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and significant snowfall. Don't forget, though, to make sure you don’t attempt to turn on 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 operating efficiency. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to break under the stress of elevated 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 harm your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds an extra level of defense. Alternatively, you can easily turn off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Strong winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to fall over or move. Similarly, rising water can flood the internal components. Ensure 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: Always keep the space around your air conditioner clear of loose objects that could become dangerous projectiles. This helps prevent denting and other physical damage from severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of extreme weather, follow these steps to ensure your air conditioner is able to continue to function safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and view your unit. Look for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, sticks and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Look 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 evaluated.
  • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy expenses, a reduced life span or total system breakdown.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to be impacted by 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 conditioning system operates safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Atlanta, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your home's comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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