How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your AC may work extra hard to keep your Memphis home cool and comfortable. While plenty of summer days are warm and beautiful, most areas of the country 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 life span. Explore the many ways weather can affect your air conditioning and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Various weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit works. On very hot days, the AC has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. The increased workload could lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

Excessive humidity also poses a potentially tricky situation. Although air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put extra pressure on the system. This may result in diminished performance and a home that isn't as comfortable.


Heat waves force your air conditioner to run constantly, causing a spike in energy bills. If your AC system is not designed or put in properly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, the condensing unit is vulnerable if used in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, decreasing efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can harm a home's outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block 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 life of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is sensitive to severe weather, but you can take preventive measures to safeguard 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 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 in another place that is 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 forecast, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and heavy snowfall. Just make sure you don’t attempt to run 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 overall health. After all, a tuned-up air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and timely inspections ensure your system stays 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 hardware. Installing a surge protector adds an extra level of defense. On the other hand, you can power off your AC during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Heavy winds can cause the outdoor air conditioning unit to fall over or move. Also, rising water can cover the internal components. Be sure your outdoor unit is properly secured and raised 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 outside and view your unit. Search for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Clear away any leaves, branches and other debris to increase airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your neighborhood suffered flooding, look for water damage. If you think water got into the unit, it’s best not to turn it on until you have it professionally serviced.
  • Schedule a quick repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t delay air conditioning repair, or you risk increased 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 essential 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 performs safely and efficiently. Our staff can handle all your AC service needs in Memphis, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather impact your home's comfort—contact a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

chat now widget box