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Can Rain Damage My AC System? A Phoenix Tech Answers

2020 Apr 22
Posted in:

Can rain damage my AC system

It’s officially spring, which means Phoenix residents will (hopefully) start to see an increase in rainstorms in the coming months. Rain can damage a variety of appliances and structures around your home, so you may be wondering if it can damage your outdoor AC unit.

The short answer is no, rain should not damage your AC system. 

However, rainstorms may cause other issues that can harm your outdoor unit, such as:

  • Flooding
  • Storm debris
  • Lightning

Below, we’ll look at a few ways that water and storms can negatively impact your AC system and what to do to prevent or mitigate damage to your outdoor AC unit. 

Want a professional’s opinion? We’d be happy to look at your AC system and help you determine if there is any water damage.

Schedule service! 

Rain itself won't harm your AC

As we mentioned above, light to normal rainfall should not damage your AC system. Why?

The components of your outdoor AC unit are built to withstand water and are made from materials that are generally corrosion resistant, like:

  • Plastic
  • Aluminum
  • Copper

In addition, the important parts of your outdoor AC unit (including the electrical connections) are sealed...which means that your AC should be able to withstand a decent amount of rain and still work perfectly fine. 

However, just because your outdoor AC unit is generally rain-resistant doesn’t mean it’s completely storm or flood-resistant. Let’s look at a few ways storms can damage your AC system...

Potential cause of damage #1: Flooding

While rain shouldn’t damage your outdoor AC unit, flooding or standing water can.

A small amount of water pooling around the bottom of your AC unit shouldn’t affect your system, but if water reaches a foot or higher, it can damage the internal parts of your AC system, like the motor. 

If you notice flooding (a foot or higher of standing water) around or under your AC unit, you should:

  1. Turn off your AC unit
  2. Try to get rid of as much standing water as possible.
  3. Let your air conditioner dry out
  4. Have an HVAC technician come and ensure that nothing is damaged before turning your AC back on. 

Note: If the downpour is significant enough for flooding, you do not want to cover your AC system with a tarp. While you may think you’re protecting your AC system, a tarp can actually trap a lot of moisture in and may not allow your AC to dry out properly. 

Potential cause of damage #2: Storm debris

The kind of storms we usually get in Arizona (Monsoons) involve a lot of wind, which means all kinds of debris are flying through the air and potentially making their way into your outdoor AC unit. 

Even if debris is small, it can severely damage the internal components of your AC unit, like your outdoor unit’s fan or blower motor.

To reduce the chances of debris damaging your AC, you should:

  1. Make sure there are no trees/shrubs directly over or within a 2-foot radius of your AC unit.
  2. Cover your compressor with a PVC-coated polyester mesh screen to prevent debris from falling into your compressor.

If you notice that debris has made its way into your AC unit or you hear any loud banging or clicking noises coming from your outside unit, you should immediately turn off your AC system and reach out to a technician. 

A tech will be able to take a look at your system and hopefully remove debris before it severely damages your AC. If there is already damage, a tech will be able to help you determine what repairs or replacements will need to be made. 

Potential cause of damage #3: Lightening

During a thunderstorm, lightning can cause a power surge that could damage or completely ruin your outdoor unit. 

While you may think turning off your AC system will protect it from a power surge, simply turning off the system will not disconnect it from the main circuit of your home. 

To protect your AC system from damage, your best course of action is to install a surge protector. The surge protector will “protect” your AC system from any spikes/surges in voltage. If the surge protector notices a surge or spike, it will divert the extra voltage into the ground wire, keeping your AC from becoming damaged. 

However, if you don’t have a surge protector and your AC system becomes damaged because of a power surge, you should reach out to a technician for help immediately. 

Worried about your outdoor AC unit? Contact George Brazil 

Whether you’ve recently noticed flooding, damage or just want to ensure that your AC is working correctly, we’d be happy to take a look. If you think your AC system is damaged, you can schedule a repair with us.

If your AC isn’t damaged but you just want peace of mind that everything is working properly, you should schedule an AC check-up. 

During a check-up, an experienced AC tech can take a look at your system and ensure that all parts are working correctly. They will also ensure that your system is set up for success in case heavy winds and rains do end up coming your way.