How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your AC may work extra hard to keep your Louisville home cool and comfortable. While many summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country are no stranger to dangerous weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and life span. Learn about the many ways weather can affect your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions affect how well your air conditioning unit performs. On particularly hot days, the AC is forced to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The larger workload can lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also presents a potentially tricky situation. Although air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This can result in reduced performance and a home that your AC isn't able to cool as well.


Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run continuously, leading to a spike in energy bills. If your AC system is not designed or set up properly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in danger if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, limiting efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can inflict damage on your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can prevent airflow, cut down on system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. If water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life span of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to severe weather, but you can take steps to secure 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 operate as vigorously, enhancing efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, position 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 provide 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 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 operating efficiency. After all, a regularly serviced 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 keep you cool and comfortable in 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 an extra form of defense. Alternatively, you can easily turn off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Strong winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can flow through the internal components. Be sure your outdoor unit is correctly 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 objects that could become dangerous projectiles. This helps prevent denting and other physical damage during the course of 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 operate safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go out and view your unit. Search for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, tree limbs and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your property has experienced flooding, check for water damage. If you believe water entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally serviced.
  • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk increased 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 recognize 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 team can handle all your AC service needs in Louisville, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather alter 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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