There are two main types of HVAC systems for residential homes: a single rooftop unit that contains both the heating and cooling units, and a split-system central heater/furnace and air conditioner. If you have a split system, your central air conditioner will have two components: an indoor air handler/evaporator and an outdoor compressor unit. This means the compressor sits on the outside of your house all year long, rain or shine. While your central air conditioner unit is meant to be outside, you might have some questions about why it’s okay for it to be exposed to the elements, especially out in the rain.
Interestingly enough, rainwater itself does not make the list of the most common HVAC problems in Oregon City, OR. What can seriously damage your air conditioner, however, are some of the situations associated with rainy weather. Here’s what you need to know.
The effect of rain on air conditioners
Right off the bat, you need to know that rain does not have an effect on your outdoor air conditioner unit. AC compressors are extremely durable and designed to stay outside through all four seasons. Therefore, rain on its own won’t harm the unit—you can use your air conditioner when it’s raining. Running your AC during summer rain can even help cool and dehumidify the inside of your home to maintain indoor air quality and comfort.
Rainy weather situations that can damage an AC
While rain itself doesn’t affect outdoor air conditioning units, some rainy weather situations can. Here are three:
- Wind or hail: Heavy rainstorms often produce wind. Sometimes, a seasonal storm can also bring sleet or hail. To protect your outdoor compressor from wind, hail, sleet or a combination of these weather conditions, look into installing a custom-fit cover made from a breathable material. Never wrap your AC in plastic or a tarp, as they will trap moisture underneath and cause corrosion. Another option is to place a piece of plywood over the unit with bricks or rocks on top to hold it down. Never cover an AC unit that’s running.
- Lightning: If your outdoor compressor is struck by lightning, the resulting power surge can destroy it. The best thing you can do for the part is shut down the entire AC unit before a lightning storm rolls in.
- Flooding: Flooding due to heavy rainstorms can destroy a compressor. When this component is submerged in flood waters, it will short circuit and fry the fan motor, electrical wiring and electronic parts. Shutting off the breaker as a precaution can do a lot of good, but you must let the compressor dry out completely before powering it back on. As an extra precaution, have an HVAC technician inspect things after a flood.
If you run into HVAC issues in Oregon City, OR, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at L & J Heating & Cooling. We’ll send a technician out to fix the problem. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment or learn more!
Categorised in: Air Conditioning
This post was written by Writer