How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your AC may work double-time to keep your Charlotte home cool and comfortable. While many summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to severe weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Learn about the many ways weather can influence your AC and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Several different weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit performs. On especially hot days, the AC is forced to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The additional workload might lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also presents a challenge. Although air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This might result in decreased performance and a home that isn't as comfortable.


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 put in properly, it may be unable to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Conversely, the condensing unit is in danger if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the AC when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, limiting 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, decrease system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the lifetime of your system.

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to extreme weather, but you can take steps to take care of 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, improving efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, put 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 winter season or when severe weather is predicted, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and heavy snowfall. However, make sure you don’t attempt to turn on 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 resilience. 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 comprehensive inspections ensure your system stays in top-notch condition and is ready to deal with any weather.
  • Install a surge protector: Power surges are a common consequence of storms that can ruin your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an additional level of defense. As an alternative, you can easily 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 tip or move. Also, rising water can flow through the internal parts. 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 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 operate safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outdoors and view your unit. Check for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Get rid of any leaves, sticks and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Look for water damage: If your property sustained flooding, check for water damage. If you believe water has entered the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
  • Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t postpone air conditioning repair, or you risk increased energy expenses, 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 critical 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 conditioner works safely and efficiently. Our team can handle all your AC service needs in Charlotte, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your indoor comfort—reach out to a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.