Thunderstorms can be an awe-inspiring part of summer weather, but they can also cause inconvenience and even hazards or home system damage. For example, your air conditioning unit can be susceptible to damage from the forces of weather present in a thunderstorm. If not protected or if it gets unlucky, your outdoor AC unit could even stop working and require repairs.
Here are a few of the issues you may need to repair after a thunderstorm breaks your AC unit.
1. Electrical outages
Electrical outages can be widespread, affecting your entire area, or can hit just one or two systems. Different types of electrical systems can become damaged in a thunderstorm and stop relaying electricity to your outdoor AC unit.
For example, if a connection comes loose in the storm or if being soaking wet causes an electrical short that makes your AC unit's breaker trip, your AC unit may not have power after the storm. You don't want to mess with electrical connections and systems yourself, so you'll want to call for a repair technician.
2. Power surge damage
A power surge can occur in your home electrical system if a lightning strike occurs in any of the connected regions of your power grid. While a lightning strike to your house would be an understandable reason for a power surge, a lightning strike to a neighbor's house or any of the poles within a several-mile radius of your house could also overload your electrical system with more power than it can handle.
Power surges can damage several of the components of your AC system, such as the run capacitor or the circuit board. You may then need to have these components replaced. In some cases, a unit may still work with a damaged capacitor, but running it that way could cause more expensive compressor damage by putting too much strain on the compressor.
3. Flash flood damage
Thunderstorms can bring torrential rain downpours, which, in turn, can often cause flash flooding especially in susceptible areas with hard surfaces that don't absorb rain easily. If your AC gets flooded out, the water could cause shorts in the wiring, which could then cause damage to electrical parts of the unit.
4. Damage from debris buildup
If too much wind-blown debris gets inside the top of your AC unit during a storm, the fan could damage itself by trying to spin. Or alternatively, the fan could become jammed, causing parts of the AC to overheat as the unit tries unsuccessfully to spin the fan.
As you can see, several types of AC damage can occur when a thunderstorm is in your area, especially a severe one. If you suspect any damage, shut down the power to your AC unit immediately (even if it doesn't seem to have any power available) and get in touch with an air conditioning repair technician.