A split-system central A/C consists of two components: an indoor air handler/evaporator and an outdoor compressor unit. The compressor sits outside your home through all types of weather, so questioning whether rain affects your air conditioner is an understandable concern for Illinois homeowners.
No, Rain Doesn’t Affect the Air Conditioner
A/C compressors are built durably and designed to stay outdoors in the elements through all seasons. Rainfall won’t harm the outdoor unit, and it’s safe to operate an air conditioner during wet weather. In fact, the humidity levels inside a home are usually higher during summer rains, so running the A/C can help cool and dehumidify the space to maintain comfort and indoor air quality.
What Can Damage an Air Conditioner
Some rainy weather situations can cause serious harm to an air conditioner:
- Lightning storms. A lightning strike can cause a power surge that ruins an outdoor compressor, so it’s best to take the precaution of shutting down the A/C unit at the breaker before a lightning storm rolls through.
- Flooding from heavy rains. When a compressor is submerged due to flooding, a short circuit can fry the fan motor, electronics and electrical wiring. If you’ve taken the precaution of shutting off the breaker, the outdoor component must be dried out completely before power is restored. Having it looked at by an experienced HVAC pro after the water recedes could prolong the equipment’s life span.
- Wind, hail or sleet. Wind often accompanies heavy rains, and seasonal storms can produce hail or sleet. You can protect the outdoor compressor from the effects of these weather conditions by installing a custom-fit cover made from breathable material. Don’t wrap the unit in plastic or a tarp that traps moisture and causes corrosion. As an alternative, place a piece of plywood on top of the unit and weigh it down with a heavy rock or a few bricks.
For expert answers to any of your HVAC and home comfort questions, contact us today at Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve served Deerfield, Glenview, Northbrook and surrounding areas since 1979.
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