How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your AC may work extremely hard to keep your Richmond home cool and comfortable. While a lot of summer days are warm and beautiful, you may be no stranger to extreme weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. 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 can alter how well your air conditioning unit functions. On particularly hot days, the AC must work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also presents a problem. Even though air conditioners are supposed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This can result in reduced 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 set up correctly, it may struggle to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, 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, decreasing efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can harm a home's outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, reduce system efficiency or dent the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the life of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to dangerous weather, but you can take precautions to safeguard 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 operate as intensely, increasing efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, position the air conditioning unit 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 predicted, 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 run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Routine maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s overall health. After all, a tuned-up 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 face any weather.
  • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common byproduct of storms that can ruin your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra form of defense. As an alternative, 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. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal elements. Make sure your outdoor unit is properly secured and elevated 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 items that could become hazardous projectiles. This helps avoid denting and other physical damage during severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of very bad weather, follow these steps to make sure your air conditioner is able to continue to operate safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outdoors and examine your unit. Look for problems108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, sticks and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Look for water damage: If your area suffered flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you believe water got into the unit, it’s always better not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
  • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy bills, 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 crucial 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 works safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in Richmond, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather impact your home's comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

chat now widget box