While ACs are built to be resilient, even when exposed to harsh weather, it is still possible for them to suffer damage, especially when a heavy rain storm occurs.
Damage From a Rain Storm
Direct actions like flooding can damage the electrical parts of your AC unit. Floodwaters of up to 15 inches are not a problem in most cases. Any higher, however, the water can get to electrical components and moving parts. Hail can also cause serious damage, especially if driven by tornadoes that can cause stones or other debris to be thrown into the unit.
Lightning is not often a problem given the low level of such units; however, if it hits the house, it could result in an electrical surge that could damage the electronic components of all connected electronic equipment, including your AC. It is advisable to have a surge protector installed for the whole house to protect all electronics from such an event.
Other indirect actions include animals seeking shelter from the storm, crawling into your unit, and causing damage. Debris flung around amid a storm like tree branches can also damage the unit.
Some homeowners wrap up their units to protect them from water. Using material like plastic for this purpose can promote condensation inside the unit, leading to rusting and corrosion. When mixed with dirt, it can also promote the growth of mold and mildew.
Preventing Damage from Rain Storms
• Turn off the electricity – Turning off your power from the circuit breaker is a good way to prevent power surges from damaging your electronics in a rain storm. Ensure that all family members know how to do this and even label the switches, so they know which one is connected to the HVAC system.
• Invest in surge protectors – As said, surge protectors are a good way to prevent power surges from damaging your electronics. Even a minor surge can cause serious and widespread damage. You can have surge protection for your entire house or buy individual surge protectors you can connect to each appliance. They are most effective for indirect lightning strikes that cause surges, so ensure you still throw your circuit breaker to avoid the impact of direct lightning.
• Cover your condenser – Temporarily cover your condenser when a storm occurs. Ensure you have turned off the power. This is to prevent debris like hail or branches from getting into the condenser. As soon as the storm passes, remove the covering to restore ventilation. If high winds or tornadoes are a risk, consider tying down the unit more securely to avoid lift-off.
• Tidy your yard – This should be an ongoing practice. The better you are at keeping your yard tidy and vegetation trimmed, the less debris there will be flying around in a storm. Remove dead tree branches and store garden furniture, tools, or other loose items in your shed or garage.
• Add an insurance rider – If you live in an area where frequent heavy rain storms occur, consider investing in a rider to your homeowners’ insurance that will cover such damage. Air conditioners are expensive, and the cost of repairs could add up. Taking out extra coverage can help save in the long run. Whether or not your AC appears to be damaged after a heavy rain storm, it is important to call in your HVAC technician to inspect and make repairs if need be. In the Las Vegas area please call 32 Degrees HVAC for air conditioning and heating repairs. After a spate of heavy rainfall, do call a reputable company to have someone check out your AC before you resume using it.