While we all appreciate the warmer weather summer brings, that also leads to sometimes strong storms. These storms wreak havoc on infrastructure of all kinds, and at your home it may be your air conditioner. Here are the indications to look for that indicate your unit has sustained some damage and requires service.
Your Condenser Is Cracked or Dented
Start by inspecting your condensing unit after the storm, which is the square or rectangle unit outside your house. You may see small dings or dents in the housing, which shouldn’t cause much concern.
However, significant dents or cracks in the housing should cause concern. While the unit may still run with this kind of damage, it indicates the strong possibility of additional damage. It also compromises the integrity of the housing, making the internal components more susceptible to rain and storms.
The Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
Your unit may still be damaged, even without any visible signs. One key indicator is if it starts tripping the circuit breaker while running. The breaker trips when a circuit draws too much current.
For your air conditioner, there are several reasons this may happen following a storm. The power supply line may have been damaged and is now creating a fault in the circuit. This is potentially a dangerous situation and should be repaired by a trained professional.
Damage to the compressor is more likely, which creates more resistance and more electrical draw. Occasionally, this is from a refrigerant leak and too little refrigerant in the system. Other times, some internal components to the compressor have sustained damage.
Your Unit Is Completely Dead
Another obvious sign of damage is when your unit fails to turn on at all. Check simple causes before assuming there’s damage to your system. First, check to make sure your home has power, then check the circuit breaker for your system.
If those check out, then it is very likely your system has sustained some damage. This could be as simple as a damaged capacitor or contactor. It could also be more substantial, such as damage to the condensing fan motor, the compressor, or the power supply.
Large Debris Sticking Out of the Unit
You should assume your unit has sustained damage if you see debris larger than leaves or grass sticking out. Branches, rocks and other types of debris can easily damage the condensing coil. They can also damage the fan blades, fan motor, compressor, capacitor, or contactor.
Trying to remove this debris on your own may cause more damage without proper training. Call a technician to come remove the debris and inspect for any damage that’ll inhibit your unit’s operation.
Warm or Humid Air
Once your unit is back up and running, pay attention to how the air feels coming out. Under normal operating conditions, your air conditioner removes some humidity from your home.
If your house is muggier than normal, or the air feels warmer than usual, your system likely has sustained damage. The most likely culprit after a storm is some damage causing a refrigerant leak. This leak may be small and so may not have other signs, but is still something to repair quickly.
A leak left unresolved destroys your system’s efficiency, and leads to preventable damage. If the leak is substantial enough, you may notice your system freezing, or there may be a bubbling or screaming sound.
Flood Waters Around the Condenser
Depending on how your house sits on the lot, you may experience some flooding during the worst storms. Your condensing unit may be damaged by water that pools around the base, or if any part of the unit is submerged.
There are usually signs of water damage, even if you didn’t see the water pooling around your unit. Look for a line of small debris or dirt that goes around the unit. This is a key indicator there was standing water, which has likely caused damage.
If you happen to notice water starting to pool around your unit, kill the power at the breaker. This may help protect from damaging the electrical components.
If you expect a major storm to come through, consider running the temperature a little cooler in advance. Once the temperature is set, kill the power at the breaker until the storm passes.
People around Cincinnati have trusted Wingate, Heating & Air Conditioning to keep their families safe and comfortable since 1968. Our experts provide both heating and cooling installation, maintenance and service, as well as plumbing and electrical services. Call to schedule your air conditioning service with one of our NATE-certified technicians today.