6 Signs of Storm Damage on Your AC

AC Storm Damage in Charlotte, NC

While most modern air conditioners can withstand harsh weather conditions, a heavy storm can wreck the unit. The signs of damage on your system after a storm might be apparent, but others are hard to recognize. This means that your AC can get damaged even without you noticing it. It’s, therefore, a good idea that you have a professional assess your unit immediately after a storm. If our technicians spot problems early enough, they can fix the issues, preventing expensive repairs or replacements in the future. However, when neglected, minor problems might escalate into significant issues, shortening the lifespan of your AC. An air conditioning unit is a substantial investment for most homeowners, and you wouldn’t want to replace it sooner than expected. Watch out for the following indications of storm damage on your unit.

1. Burning Electrical Odor

Storms cause blackouts and power surges, which can damage AC’s vital components. If lightning strikes near your home or power surges damage other electrical equipment, have your AC checked even if it doesn’t show signs of damage. Note that the AC contains some electrical components like wires, fans, and compressors. A short circuit can cause the coating on the wires to melt, resulting in a burning plastic smell. If you notice such a smell coming from your AC, switch it off and call a technician as soon as possible. Note that this issue can lead to a fire outbreak compromising your property’s safety and that of your loved ones.

2. Strange Noises

Most modern AC units operate very quietly. If you notice strange noises from your AC after a storm, it signifies a problem within the system. Strong winds can push debris into the outdoor unit causing a buzzing noise as fans move around the blockages. This can put extra strain on your system, increasing the chances of wear, and it’s more likely to break down at the least expected time. If you have a unit designed for user maintenance, open it and clear off the dirt. However, if you aren’t experienced with such a task, seek professional assistance.

A clanking sound means that the fan blades are out of balance, so they keep hitting one another. On the other hand, a banging noise means destroyed or broken parts like the crankshaft or piston pin. If the AC produces a screaming noise, it indicates the presence of a refrigerant leak. You should switch off the unit immediately and call a professional to fix the issue. Prolonged exposure to the refrigerant can cause adverse health effects and damage to the environment. Screeching noises could also signify a broken belt or faulty motor bearings. If your unit produces a gurgling noise, there could be excess moisture within the AC. Failure to address such issues immediately can cause the system to fail.

3. Reduced Cooling Efficiency

If you notice weak airflow from your unit after a storm, you could be dealing with a compressor problem. The compressor is a very vital part of the AC, so have a professional check it. Once the compressor gets damaged, you might have to replace it or buy an entirely new unit. The strong winds during a storm can also damage the refrigerant lines, causing a leak. The refrigerant may not draw out all the heat from the indoor air at low levels, so your AC begins to circulate warm air. Call a professional to fix the leaks and recharge the refrigerant to restore your unit’s functionality.

Blockages on the outdoor unit may also impede airflow, so the hot air gets stuck within the system. Sometimes, it recirculates back into the house. It’s vital, then, that you check and clean the outdoor unit after the storm. Reduced cooling efficiency can increase your energy bills, so have a technician fix the problem immediately.

4. The AC Fails to Turn on After the Storm

Sometimes, your AC might fail to turn on even after the power gets restored after a storm. In case of a power surge, the breaker usually trips to protect your AC, and all you need to do is reset it. First, turn the AC off from the thermostat. Next, look for the circuit breaker box located either in the basement, garage, laundry room, or other exterior parts of the house. Look for a switch labeled air conditioner or HVAC. If you can’t find it, refer to the manufacturer’s manual or go for the button in a neutral position. Once you find it, flip the switch on, give the AC 30 minutes to reset itself, then turn the thermostat to cool. If the breaker keeps tripping after turning on the unit, it’s a sign of electrical system damage that needs immediate attention.

If the AC fails to kick on even after restarting it, there could be an underlying problem, so seek professional help immediately. In some cases, the power outage can damage the motor or the start capacitor, so the AC can’t kick on.

5. Water Pooling Around the Outdoor Unit

Although the outdoor AC unit is water-resistant, heavy storms can damage it, especially when the unit is submerged. Remember that the AC contains some electrical parts, so switch it off to avoid electrocution. Address the drainage issue as soon as possible. If the water covered the AC about 10 inches, turn off the system and rinse the condenser with clean water. However, if the water covered the AC beyond this height, call our technicians to inspect it. They will clean and dry the components. You may need to replace parts like the fan motor and contractor. Although the unit might still function after having been in water, it will gradually fail when ignored.

6. Physical Damage

After a storm, check your unit for physical signs of damage. You may notice disconnected wiring, a displaced condenser unit, a missing cover, or damaged coils. Other times, mud may even get into the system, blocking airflow. Have professionals inspect the AC to determine the extent of the damage. They will help clean the unit, replace loose or missing parts, and put the condenser back into position.

Need Air Conditioner Inspection and Repair Services After a Storm?

After a storm, it’s vital that you check on your cooling system to ensure that it’s in working conditions. As outlined above, storms can cause severe damage to your unit, but you can avoid this by getting the system inspected. Based on the extent of the damage, our technicians may suggest that you consider some adjustments to prevent the re-occurrence of such issues. This includes the installation of a surge protector to absorb excess electricity. You can also use tie-down straps to hold the condenser unit secure to prevent damage from the wind. Cut and clear any plants, trees, or shrubbery near the AC to prevent debris accumulation in the outdoor unit.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Integrity Heating & Cooling if you notice storm-related air conditioner damage signs. Our company provides cooling and heating systems installation, repair, and tune-up services. You can rely on us also for standby generators, duct sealing, indoor air quality testing, and commercial HVAC services. We serve Charlotte, NC, and the nearby regions. Get in touch with us now to request our services.

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