How Storms Can Damage Central Air Conditioners

Posted on: 29 July 2021

High winds, ice, snow, and hail are some of your home's worst enemies. If you live in an area prone to severe weather, you're likely used to taking steps to protect your roof, siding, and windows from storm damage.

Your central air conditioner can benefit from storm preparation just as much as the rest of your home. This guide will introduce the ways storms can damage central air conditioners so you can avoid an AC breakdown caused by inclement weather.

Outdoor Condenser Damage

The outdoor condenser is usually installed on top of a concrete slab to protect it from pooling water that could damage its electrical components. Unfortunately, severe storms can damage your AC condenser in more ways than one.

Loose debris blown by the wind can get into your condenser through the vents on the side. The condenser fan can knock debris around inside the condenser continuously, potentially damaging other sensitive components. 

Wind-blown debris can also bend the vent fins on a condenser to gradually obstruct the vents until the unit is at risk of overheating. Wind, hail, and ice buildup can degrade the refrigerant lines that run from your condenser to the evaporator coils indoors.

The ideal way to protect your condenser from storm damage is to shut off the power to your air conditioner before a storm and cover the condenser and refrigerant lines with a weatherproof tarp. Keep the area around the condenser free of gravel, shrubbery, and other small objects that could cause damage in high winds.

Power Surges

Central air conditioners are electronic appliances, so they are just as susceptible to damage from power surges as any electronic device. If the breaker or fuse on your central AC circuit fails, a power surge could cause a complete breakdown by frying capacitors and circuit boards inside your AC.

If you have an older air conditioner, it may be at greater risk of damage from power surges. Modern central air conditioners have built-in surge protectors that protect the unit when it receives power above its rated voltage. Replacing an outdated fuse box with a breaker box will also help to protect your AC from power surges.

It only takes a bit of planning and preparation to protect your central air conditioner from weather damage. Call a local HVAC service, like Turner Services Co., for an AC inspection so you can be sure your system is protected from severe weather.