How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioner may work extra hard to keep your Birmingham home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to severe weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with significant heat and humidity, can hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Discover the many ways weather can influence your air conditioning and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


A variety of weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit functions. On particularly hot days, the AC has to work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload might lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also presents a problem. Although air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This might result in decreased performance and a less comfortable home.


Heat waves force your air conditioner to run continuously, causing a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or set up in the correct way, it may struggle to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, the condensing unit is in danger if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioning 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 inflict damage on your outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can obstruct airflow, cut down on system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting may occur, shortening the lifetime of your air conditioning.

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to extreme weather, but you can take precautions to take care of it. Here’s how to shield your air conditioner from harsh incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to work as intensely, 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 in another place that is shaded during the hot afternoon.
  • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers are a protective shield. During the off-season or when severe weather is forecast, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep snowfall. However, make sure you don’t attempt to operate the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Performing regular maintenance is a proactive measure to enhance your AC unit’s durability. After all, a regularly serviced air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of extreme temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and detailed inspections ensure your system continues to be 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 consequence of storms that can ruin your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an additional form of defense. On the other hand, you can power off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Heavy winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to tip or move. Similarly, rising water can cover the internal parts. Make sure your outdoor unit is completely secured and lifted up 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 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 be sure your air conditioner is able to continue to function 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: Get rid of any leaves, tree limbs and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your property sustained flooding, check for water damage. If you suspect water has entered the unit, it’s always better not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
  • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk high energy expenses, a reduced life span or total system breakdown.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to feel the impact of severe weather, but it’s crucial to be prepared and understand 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 Birmingham, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather affect your home's comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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