How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer hits its peak, your air conditioning may work extremely hard to keep your Rochester 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 significant heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Explore the many ways weather can have an impact on 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 very hot days, the AC has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. The additional workload might lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also creates a problem. Even though air conditioners are made26 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 constantly, resulting in a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or installed properly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Conversely, the condensing unit is in jeopardy if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can harm the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, reduce system efficiency or damage the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting might occur, shortening the life span of your air conditioning.

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to extreme weather, but you can take measures to secure it. Here’s how to protect 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 extending the unit’s life span. If possible, put the air conditioner 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 off-season or when severe weather is predicted, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and significant 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 proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s operating efficiency. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of extreme temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely 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 byproduct of storms that can harm your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds an additional layer of defense. On the other hand, you could switch off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty 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 things that could become harmful projectiles. This helps protect against denting and other physical damage during the course of severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

In the aftermath of severe 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 outdoors and view your unit. Check for issues108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clean off any leaves, sticks and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
  • Look for water damage: If your area sustained flooding, look for water damage. If you suspect water has entered 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 high energy bills, a reduced life span or total system disaster.

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 HVAC system works safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Rochester, 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.

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