How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer hits its peak, your air conditioning may work double-time to keep your Long Island home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country are no stranger to extreme weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. 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


Various weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit functions. On especially hot days, the AC has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. The larger workload could lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

Extreme humidity also poses a problem. Even though air conditioners are made26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This can result in reduced performance and a less comfortable home.


Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run continuously, resulting in a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or put in correctly, it may struggle to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, 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, limiting efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can damage a home's outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, reduce system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the lifetime of your system.

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to severe weather, but you can take measures to secure it. Here’s how to shield your air conditioner from damaging incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to work as intensely, enhancing efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, place the AC 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 expected, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep snowfall. Just make sure you don’t attempt to run 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 durability. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of elevated temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely inspections ensure your system remains 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 ruin your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds an additional form of defense. As an alternative, you can easily switch off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can flood the internal parts. Ensure 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: Always 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 from severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of severe 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 out and view your unit. Search for issues108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, tree limbs and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Inspect for water damage: If your property sustained flooding, look for water damage. If you believe water entered the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
  • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk higher energy expenses, a reduced life span or total system failure.

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 performs safely and efficiently. Our team can handle all your AC service needs in Long Island, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather alter your family's comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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