Is It Safe To Use My A/C During a Thunderstorm?

Is It Safe To Use My A/C During a Thunderstorm?

If you live in a storm-prone region of the country, you’ve probably heard that it’s unwise to use electronics and electrical appliances during thunderstorms--but is this advice that applies to air conditioners as well? As we approach the season of summer storms, find out the answer to this question and closely-related questions below!

Is It Safe to Run My AC During a Thunderstorm?

Running your air conditioner during a thunderstorm would not pose a risk to your safety. However, your HVAC equipment could be at risk in the case of a lightning strike, which we will discuss more below.

Can Lightning Damage My Air Conditioner?

The chances of lightning striking your outdoor unit (the condenser) directly are next to zero. The bigger danger comes from power surges caused by lightning striking your home or near your home. Power surges from lightning strikes can send a huge spike in voltage through your home's electrical system before your circuit breaker trips. Any appliances running at the time of that power surge (including your AC) could be damaged beyond repair.

How Do Power Surges Damage Air Conditioners?

Your air conditioner’s control panel is particularly vulnerable to damage during a power surge. In some cases, the control panel can be replaced, but if the damage is extensive, you will need to purchase an entirely new unit. A power surge can also melt an air conditioner’s plug, which makes the unit inoperable.

Some damage is not as immediately apparent but makes itself known over time, such as damage to the capacitor or compressor. Unfortunately, the compressor is one of the most expensive parts to replace.

Are There Ways to Prevent My AC from Being Damaged by a Power Surge?

Fortunately, yes! A certified electrician with the proper training can install a full-house surge protector for your home, which can channel the voltage from a lightning strike into the ground. However, it’s important to note that while these systems are usually a very effective preventative measure, they are not 100-percent effective.

Whether your home has a full-house surge protector or not, if there’s a thunderstorm in your neighborhood, it’s best to refrain from running your air conditioner. Turn your HVAC system off at your thermostat. While this still doesn’t guarantee that your air conditioner will be safe from a power surge, turning the power to the system off will make a power surge less likely to cause severe damage.

If your AC has been experiencing issues following a thunderstorm in Cullman, the HVAC experts at Dye Service can inspect your unit and diagnose the issue. With over 58 years of combined experience working on various HVAC system brands and models, our team is highly qualified to be your go-to technician. We will take care of all your comfort needs quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.


Call Dye Service today at (256) 202-6544 or contact us online to schedule an HVAC service in Cullman!


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