When summer reaches its peak, your air conditioning may work extra hard to keep your Oklahoma City home cool and comfortable. While many summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to dangerous 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 have an impact on your air conditioner and how to protect it.
Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner
Various weather conditions can alter how well your air conditioning unit performs. On particularly hot days, the AC has to work harder to achieve the set temperature. The larger workload can lead to an overburdened system, causing a breakdown.
Excessive humidity also poses a challenge. While air conditioners are designed26 to dehumidify the air as they cool it, excessive humidity can put stress on the system. This can result in reduced performance and a home that isn't as comfortable.
Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run much more than usual, 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.
In contrast, the condensing unit is in danger if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioner when the outdoor unit is covered in ice can damage the compressor, reducing efficiency and possibly causing a total breakdown of your cooling system.
Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can damage a home's outdoor AC unit. Debris from storms can block airflow, decrease system efficiency or hammer away at the metal. Should water flood the system, corrosion or short-circuiting might occur, shortening the life span of your system.
The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to severe weather, but you can take preventive measures to secure 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 work as vigorously, improving efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life span. If possible, put 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 work as a protective shield. During the cooler months or when severe weather is expected, 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: Scheduled maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s resilience. 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 comprehensive inspections ensure your system continues to be 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 damage your AC unit’s electrical components. Installing a surge protector adds an extra form of defense. As an alternative, 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. Also, rising water can flow through the internal elements. Ensure your outdoor unit is completely secured and raised 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 the course of severe weather.
Checking on Your AC After a Storm
In the aftermath of very bad 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 out and inspect your unit. Check for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
- Clear debris: Remove any leaves, sticks and other debris to maximize airflow and efficiency.
- Inspect for water damage: If your property has experienced flooding, check for water damage. If you believe water entered the unit, it’s always better not to turn it on until you have it professionally evaluated.
- Schedule a prompt repair: In the case of storm damage, don’t put off air conditioning repair, or you risk higher 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 essential 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 performs safely and efficiently. Our team can handle all your AC service needs in Oklahoma City, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather influence your home's comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.