How Severe Weather Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

When summer reaches its peak, your AC may work double-time to keep your Winnipeg home cool and comfortable. While a lot of summer days are warm and beautiful, most people are no stranger to severe 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. Learn about the many ways weather can influence your air conditioning and how to protect it.

Impact of Weather on Your Air Conditioner


Various weather conditions affect how well your air conditioning unit functions. On very hot days, the AC must work harder to attain and hold the set temperature. The increased workload might lead to an overworked system, causing a breakdown.

High humidity also creates a potentially tricky situation. Even though 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 your AC isn't able to cool as well.


Periods of very hot weather force your air conditioner to run constantly, leading to a spike in energy bills. If a home’s HVAC system is not designed or set up correctly, it may not be able to meet the cooling demand under these conditions.

In contrast, the condensing unit is vulnerable if operated in subfreezing conditions. Attempting to operate the air conditioning when the outdoor unit is covered in ice could damage the compressor, limiting efficiency and possibly wrecking your cooling system.

Weather-Induced Damage

Substantial rain, wind, hail or snow can inflict damage on your 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 might occur, shortening the lifetime of your unit.

The outdoor AC unit is vulnerable to dangerous weather, but you can take preventive measures to secure it. Here’s how to save 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, enhancing efficiency and extending the unit’s life span. If possible, put the air conditioning unit 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 provide a protective shield. During the winter season or when severe weather is predicted, consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from flying debris, falling ice and deep snowfall. Don't forget, though, to make sure you don’t attempt to run the air conditioner while the outdoor unit is covered.
  • Maintain your HVAC system regularly: Performing regular maintenance is a cost-effective measure to enhance your AC unit’s operating efficiency. After all, an efficient air conditioner is less likely to fail under the stress of high temperatures or humidity. Regular cleaning, filter replacement and comprehensive 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 consequence of storms that can damage your AC unit’s electrical hardware. Installing a surge protector adds an additional form of defense. Alternatively, you could turn off your air conditioning during severe weather by flipping the circuit breaker.
  • Secure and elevate your outdoor unit: Strong winds can cause the outdoor cooling unit to topple or move. Likewise, rising water can flow through the internal elements. 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: 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 be sure your air conditioner is able to continue to run safety:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: When the sky clears, go outside and view your unit. Look for damage108 such as dents, exposed wires or an off-kilter base.
  • Clear debris: Get rid of any leaves, twigs and other debris to increase airflow and efficiency.
  • Check for water damage: If your neighborhood sustained flooding, check for water damage. If you think 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 delay 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 operates safely and efficiently. Our professionals can handle all your AC service needs in Winnipeg, including maintenance, repair and replacement. Don’t let severe weather alter your home's comfort—phone a Service Experts office near you for more information or to schedule a visit today.

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