How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your air conditioning may work double-time to keep your Buffalo home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, you may be no stranger to extreme weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant 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 have an impact on your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner

Performance

Various weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit works. On especially hot days, the AC must work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload could lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

Extreme humidity also presents a challenge. Even though air conditioners are designed to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This can result in diminished performance and a less comfortable home.

Efficiency

Heat waves force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, resulting in a spike in energy bills. If your AC system is not designed or put in in the correct way, it may be unable to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, the condensing unit is at risk if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can inflict damage on your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, reduce system efficiency or dent the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the life of your system.

Protecting Your Air Conditioner from Severe Weather

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to extreme weather, but you can take steps to safeguard it. Here’s how to shield your air conditioner from harsh incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to run as intensely, increasing efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, position the AC 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 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 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: Performing regular maintenance is a proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s resilience. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to break under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed inspections ensure your system stays 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 an extra level of defense. As an alternative, you could turn off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to fall over or move. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal elements. Make sure your outdoor unit is correctly 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 objects that could become harmful 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 be sure your air conditioner is able to continue to function safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outdoors and examine your unit. Check for issues such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, branches and other debris to increase airflow and efficiency.
  • Look for water damage: If your area sustained flooding, look for water damage. If you believe water has 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 delay air conditioning repair, or you risk increased energy costs, 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 air conditioning system runs safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in Buffalo, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your family’s comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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