During summer, due to the humid conditions, thunderstorms occur frequently. You might have heard that one should not use electronics during thunderstorms. Now, is the advice applicable for your air conditioner or not? Read below to know the answer and other details about operating your air conditioner during thunderstorms!
Should you use your Air Conditioner during thunderstorms?
The answer is no! Just like any other electrical appliance, operating your air conditioner during a thunderstorm can cause severe damage to your unit. So, it is ideal to shut down your air conditioner when the weather indicates a thunderstorm.
Due to humidity in summer, you might want to crank the air conditioner to enjoy the cool air from your unit. Unfortunately, it is the ideal condition for thunderstorms as well. Fortunately, once the summer storms roll in, you will get some relief as the temperature and humidity drop, even if your air conditioner is switched off.
Why should you switch off your air conditioner?
· Lightning strikes can damage your air conditioner: During thunderstorms, it is highly unlikely that lightning strikes your condenser (outdoor unit of your air conditioner). However, the probability of bigger damage to your air conditioner comes from the power surges due to lightning striking your home or nearby. The most vulnerable point for lightning striking your home is the electrical flow drop. It is the point where all the utility lines are connected to your home’s roof, and if lightning strikes, a power surge will occur through your house’s electrical system. The power surge due to lightning strikes may send a significant spike through your home's electrical system, which can cause your circuit breaker to trip. This can result in severe damage to all the appliances running during the power surge, including your operating air conditioner. The damage caused because of this power surge is likely beyond repair.
· Your air conditioner may malfunction: Your home getting struck by lightning can lead your air conditioner to malfunction. It can cause your unit’s plug to melt. The control panel of your air conditioner is very vulnerable because it is packed with complex electrical circuitry that is sensitive to damage. Once your air conditioner’s control panel is damaged, you will require extensive repair or even replace the entire unit. The functioning of your air conditioner depends on the system’s control, and if a power surge occurs while it is operating, your cooling or heating system will malfunction.
Some damages are repairable. For instance, during lightning, if the compressor or capacitor gets damaged due to a power surge, it does not risk the functioning of your air conditioner.
What should you do to prevent your air conditioner from being damaged during thunderstorms?
By installing a full-house surge protector, you can prevent your AC from being damaged due to a power surge. You can call for certified technicians to install it for your house. If lightning strikes, the surge protector will channel the excess voltage directly into the ground. However, it is to be noted that installing a surge protector is only an effective way to prevent damage; it does not guarantee to be a 100 percent preventive measure. Therefore, you need to refrain from operating your air conditioner during thunderstorms. Even if you have a full-house surge protector, there will still be chances of power surge from your house’s neighborhood.
Turning off your electrical appliances along with your HVAC system is the best way to prevent any damage during thunderstorms. Although it does not guarantee that your HVAC system will remain safe from a power surge, it will prevent any severe damage to your switched-off system.
During summers, air conditioners are the best appliance to save us from the horrible heat and humidity. But the summer storms can cause thunderstorms to damage your air conditioning. It is ideal for you to turn off your air conditioner during thunderstorms to prevent any extensive damage. If you notice your air conditioner malfunctioning after a storm, call the HVAC experts right away to diagnose any issue with your unit and fix it as soon as possible. To keep your air conditioner running effectively, you need to maintain it properly.
See the summary of this content here – Using AC during Thunderstorms [Infographic]