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How to Protect Your AC System During Summer Storms

A severe storm is never a pleasant experience. Whether it’s being stuck inside, stockpiling food and supplies, or protecting your home from damage, enduring a weather event like this can be a tiring and at times, scary experience. Making sure your home is well-protected from high winds, heavy rainfall, lightning, and more can make you feel prepared for any weather event that may occur.

Taking the necessary precautions to protect your air conditioning unit is a good way to practice severe storm safety. Review the tips below to ensure you’re prepared for the next summer storm.

Components of an AC System

Before you begin securing your AC unit, it’s important to understand its various components and their functions.

The four components of an AC system include:

Condenser: This is the metal unit that is installed outdoors. Inside the condenser, the gas from the compressor is condensed to a liquid. As the gas enters the condenser, it’s heated then cooled to convert the gas to liquid form.

Compressor: Located inside the condenser, the compressor circulates pressurized refrigerant. This concentrates the heat and changes low-pressure gas to high pressure.

Evaporator: This part of the unit is located indoors. It’s designed to absorb the heat from the air inside your home.

Expansion valve: This valve controls the amount of refrigerant that is in the system.

AC units work by removing heat from the air in your home and transferring it to the outdoors. As the warm air moves through the different components of the system, the heat is transferred, leaving the air cooled when it comes out the other side of the system. During this process, the unit also removes humidity from the air.

What Damages an AC System during a Storm?

Your AC unit is an electrical system and as such, is susceptible to lightning strikes during a storm. While lightning strikes are rare, they do happen and can render irreparable damage to your AC system.

The utility lines that connect your AC system to the grid are extremely susceptible to a lightning strike during a storm. If struck by lightning, the utility lines may generate a large power surge that will flow through your home’s electrical system. If your AC unit is in operation during this power surge, it will likely suffer significant damage.

If your air conditioner suffers a direct lightning strike, the plug connecting the unit to your home may melt and become unusable. If the strike occurs while the system is in operation, it’s likely that the control panel will be damaged, requiring the entire unit to be repaired or replaced.

Lightning isn’t the only thing that may damage your AC unit in a severe storm; high winds and hail also pose a significant threat. During severe storms, hail can grow to six inches in diameter and weigh more than one pound. If a piece of hail this size and weight falls on your AC unit, it’s likely the unit will need to be replaced. High winds can also carry heavy debris which can strike and damage your unit during a storm.

How to Protect Your AC Unit

As the summer season draws near, it’s important for homeowners to follow basic storm safety guidelines to ensure their AC unit is protected from high winds, heavy rain, lightning strikes, hail, and more.

The following steps can help ensure your AC unit is protected during a storm:

Turn off your AC unit. If your system is in operation during a storm, it may be more susceptible to lightning strikes and power surges, which can damage the unit or make it entirely unusable.

Install lightning rods or conductors. If you must keep your AC unit on during a storm, consider installing lightning rods and conductors, which can direct lightning away from sensitive electrical components. These methods are not 100% effective, however, so it’s best to keep the AC unit turned off during a storm.

Cover your AC unit. Covering your AC unit with a waterproof tarp can protect it from hail or debris blown by high winds. Make sure the tarp is tied down tightly or secured with a heavy object to ensure it stays in place for the duration of the storm. Make sure to remove the tarp after the storm passes; mold and rust may form if it’s left on.

Remove hazards from the surrounding area. Make sure to store any objects that can be blown away by high winds, including backyard furniture and pool toys.

Taking the necessary precautions before a storm hits can ensure the longevity of your AC unit. Don’t wait until the storm is on the horizon before practicing these storm safety guidelines; keep an eye on the weather forecasts and give yourself enough time to prepare appropriately.

AC Issues? We Can Help

We know that air conditioning issues can arise any time throughout the year. If you’re having a problem with your system, our Melbourne technicians are here to help! Regular maintenance can help reduce breakdowns and lengthen your system’s lifespan.

Contact Extreme Air & Electric, Inc. at 321-280-1694 to schedule an air conditioner service appointment today! We are available 24/7.