How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioning may work double-time to keep your Roanoke home cool and comfortable. While many summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country are no stranger to extreme weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant heat and humidity, can impact your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Learn about the many ways weather can affect your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit works. On especially hot days, the AC must work harder to achieve the set temperature. The larger workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

Extreme humidity also creates a potentially tricky situation. While air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This might result in decreased performance and a less comfortable home.


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

Conversely, the condensing unit is vulnerable if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Heavy rain, wind, hail or snow can damage the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, decrease system efficiency or damage the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life span of your air conditioning.

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

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to work as intensely, enhancing 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 cooler months or when severe weather is expected, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep snowfall. However, make sure you don’t attempt to operate 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 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 comprehensive 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 result of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds another layer of defense. Alternatively, you can 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 topple or move. Also, rising water can flow through the internal parts. Be sure your outdoor unit is properly 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 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 function safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and inspect 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 increase airflow and efficiency.
  • Look for water damage: If your neighborhood sustained flooding, look for water damage. If you think water got into the unit, it’s a very good idea 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 higher energy costs, a reduced life span or total system disaster.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to be impacted by severe weather, but it’s crucial to be prepared and recognize how to recover. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer post-storm inspections and repairs to ensure your air conditioning system performs safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Roanoke, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your indoor comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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