How to protect your air conditioner during a storm
Turn Off the AC When There is Lightning
It’s okay to run your air conditioner in the rain, but lightning storms are a different story. A strong lightning blast can cause severe damage that may not even be noticeable after the storm has passed. A not so robust AC days later may be an indicator that a lightning strike has caused a debilitating power surge. Lightning can easily blow out the compressor. That’s why it’s best to endure the heat and humidity a little bit during a strong storm and turn off the AC until the sky is lightning-free.
Secure the AC with Storm Straps
When predictions of exceptionally violent weather like hurricanes or tornadoes are in the news, securing the unit with storm straps helps keep extremely strong winds from tossing your unit into the neighbor’s yard. In addition, check the fasteners that hold the AC to its foundation. Over time, these brackets can become loose and can be tightened as an added measure.
Clear the Area from Potential Flying Debris
Your AC is also vulnerable to any objects that are nearby. Patio furniture, hose reels, outdoor toys and even barbecue grills on wheels can become damaging projectiles during storms with exceptionally strong winds. When these airborne objects smash into your air conditioner, they aren’t just causing dings in the exterior housing. If struck hard enough by a flying object, the air conditioner housing can develop a fissure, which lets in moisture. Internal damage to the air conditioner may not even appear until days later. Lock down anything that might become airborne during a storm. Put away any outdoor equipment in a backyard shed or the garage just to be safe.
Cover Your AC During the Storm
Along with flying debris, hail is the next biggest culprit for damaging an outdoor air conditioner. Secure the AC with a heavy tarp or canvas, especially if hail is predicated. A protective cover can help prevent hailstones from causing the same damage as any flying objects to the air conditioner housing. Just be sure to remove the cover before turning the AC back on after the storm.
Ensuring that your air conditioner is in good condition requires occasional checkups from a HVAC professional. After a strong storm is as good a time as any to see if your AC is damage-free. Ask your HVAC technician about other ways you can protect your air conditioner during storm season.