Is It Okay To Run An HVAC System During A Storm?

September 23, 2021

Is It Okay To Run An HVAC System During A Storm?

It is natural to want to crank up your air conditioning system when it is hot and humid outside. This is especially true after a storm has just passed leaving you with hot and humid weather conditions.

However, have you ever thought about whether it is safe to keep running your AC system during a storm? Many people dismiss the thought of turning off their HVAC system during a summer thunderstorm to maintain the indoor temperature of their home. But, not many are aware that operating your air conditioner during a thunderstorm can lead to some damage to your unit.

Hence, experts advise that you should shut off your system when the weather starts acting up.

In this blog, we have jotted down the main reasons it is important for you to shut off your air conditioner during a thunderstorm.

Lightning Strikes

Although there have not been many incidents where lightning has struck residential areas, there is an undeniable possibility during a storm. Moreover, the electrical service drop where your utility lines connect to the house on the roof is a very vulnerable point for lightning strikes.

If lightning strikes the drop, it can cause a significant power surge through your home’s electrical system. An average bolt of lightning can produce as much as five billion joules of energy. Imagine this power flowing through your home’s wiring before the breakers are triggered to trip. In this fraction of a second, your HVAC system can be damaged.

If your HVAC system endures similar damage, there is no workaround for it. You will have to replace it.

Unstable Power

During a thunderstorm, due to charged air and harsh weather conditions, the power can become unstable. The voltage of electricity you receive fluctuates, most HVAC systems are not designed to deal with fluctuating power.

If the system is left running, these fluctuations can result in the air conditioner’s control panel, which is full of sensitive electrical circuitry, being damaged. It can also melt the plug into your unit or end up corrupting the entire heating and cooling system.

The only way to fix any of the aforementioned issues is by replacing the whole system.

Does This Hold For Window Air Conditioners As Well?

Yes, the same is true for window air conditioners as well. Moreover, they are more likely to be hit by lightning since they are protruding from the window. In addition to this, if you live in an apartment building or highrise and are further from the ground, the chances of getting hit by lightning increase.

However, the devices are electrically insulated to remain safe in the event of a surge and the refrigerant inside the unit is nonflammable, so you don’t have to worry about an explosion. The power surge and the effect of the lightning can, on the other hand, render your air conditioning system useless.

Air Conditioning Protection System

If you live in an area where lightning strikes are very common, having your system electrically insulated to remain safe in the event of a surge is a good idea. The system uses lightning rods, conductors, and ground rods to create an alternate path for lightning to reach the ground so that it does not travel through the home’s electrical system.

However, know that these systems are not 100 percent effective at preventing surges.

How Can Pro West Heating Help?

At Pro West, we are pleased to offer our customers high-quality HVAC systems from the industry’s leading manufacturers. Our experts are trained to deliver the best services backed by a 100 percent guarantee. We help you decide whether your HVAC system needs to be replaced or repaired, our team can help you make a viable and budget-friendly decision. For more information on our services, contact us.