How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer hits its peak, your air conditioning may work extremely hard to keep your Cleveland home cool and comfortable. While a lot of summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to extreme weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with extreme heat and humidity, can affect your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Explore the many ways weather can have an impact on your air conditioner and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Several different weather conditions may change how well your air conditioning unit performs. On particularly hot days, the AC must work harder to achieve the set temperature. The increased workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also presents a challenge. Even though air conditioners are made26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This may result in diminished performance and a home that isn't as comfortable.


Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, causing a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or installed in the correct way, it may struggle to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in danger if it functions in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice might damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can inflict damage on a home's outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, reduce system efficiency or damage the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the life of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to severe weather, but you can take preventive measures to take care of 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 operate as hard, improving efficiency and lengthening the unit’s life span. If possible, place the air conditioner on the north or east side of your home or somewhere else shaded during the hot afternoon.
  • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers work as 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. However, make sure you don’t attempt to run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Scheduled maintenance is a simple and easy measure to enhance your AC unit’s durability. After all, a regularly serviced 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 continues to be 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 elements. Installing a surge protector adds an extra layer of defense. As an alternative, you can easily switch off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can flow through the internal components. Make sure your outdoor unit is correctly secured and raised 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 during severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

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

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and inspect your unit. Look 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.
  • Look for water damage: If your area suffered flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you think 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 postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy costs, a reduced life span or total system breakdown.

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 AC operates safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Cleveland, 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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