How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your AC may work extremely hard to keep your Kansas City 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 hinder your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and the length of its working life. Discover 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 can alter how well your air conditioning unit functions. On especially hot days, the AC must work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload can lead to an overloaded system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also presents a challenge. While air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can strain the system. This may result in diminished performance and a home that your AC isn't able to cool as well.


Prolonged high temperatures force your air conditioner to run continuously, causing a spike in energy bills. If the system is not designed or put in properly, it may be unable to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

Alternatively, the condensing unit is in danger if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to use the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly ruining your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Significant rain, wind, hail or snow can damage the outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, cut down on system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. When water floods the system, corrosion or short-circuiting could occur, shortening the lifetime of your air conditioning.

The outdoor AC unit is susceptible to extreme weather, but you can take measures to safeguard it. Here’s how to shield your air conditioner from damaging incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to operate as vigorously, increasing efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, place the AC 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 provide 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 run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Scheduled maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s overall health. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to buckle under the stress of high 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 byproduct of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an additional form of defense. Alternatively, you could switch off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Gusty winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to topple or move. Likewise, rising water can cover the internal components. Ensure 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: Make sure to 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 very bad 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 outdoors and examine your unit. Look for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, twigs and other debris to improve airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your neighborhood suffered flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you believe water entered the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally inspected.
  • Schedule a timely repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk higher 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 critical 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 performs safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in Kansas City, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather affect your family's comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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