How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer gets to its peak, your air conditioner may work extremely hard to keep your Waukegan home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, you may be no stranger to severe weather. Stormy conditions, and even days with high heat and humidity, can impact your air conditioner’s performance, efficiency and longevity. Discover the many ways weather can influence 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 attain and hold the set temperature. The additional workload can lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also presents a challenge. Although air conditioners are supposed26 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.


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

Conversely, the condensing unit is in danger if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to run the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, limiting efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

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

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to extreme weather, but you can take precautions to safeguard it. Here’s how to protect your air conditioner from severe incoming weather:

  • Install your air conditioner in the shade: A shaded outdoor unit doesn’t have to run as hard, increasing efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, put the air conditioner on the north or east side of your home or in another spot that is shaded during the hot afternoon.
  • Invest in an air conditioner cover: AC covers provide a protective shield. During the cooler months or when severe weather is forecast, 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 overall health. 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 remains 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 result of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds another level of defense. Alternatively, you could power off your HVAC equipment during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Heavy winds can cause the outdoor AC unit to tip or move. Also, rising water can cover the internal components. 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 items that could become hazardous projectiles. This helps avoid denting and other physical damage during the course of severe weather.

Checking on Your AC After a Storm

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

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outdoors and examine your unit. Search for problems108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Remove any leaves, branches and other debris to increase airflow and efficiency.
  • Inspect for water damage: If your property suffered flooding, examine your HVAC equipment for water damage. If you think water entered the unit, it’s a very good idea not to turn it on until you have it professionally serviced.
  • Schedule a prompt 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 failure.

Contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

No one wants to be impacted by 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 AC operates safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in Waukegan, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather affect your indoor comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.