In Southwest Florida, heavy rains are common, especially as tropical storms or hurricanes approach. If you have ever wondered “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit,” the short answer is “No.” In most cases, rain is safe for your system, though there are some exceptions, and a few precautions to take during strong storms.
The Effects of Rain
The outside portion of a central air conditioning system, known as the outdoor unit or condenser unit, houses both the condenser and the compressor, as well as a system fan, electrical connections and other accessories. Most of the components are made from aluminum, copper, plastics and other materials that are not prone to corrosion or damage from moisture, and the electrical connections are sealed, allowing the system to run properly even in heavy rain.
Only during heavy flooding, when the condenser is partially or completely submerged, should you shut the system off, which can be done using the breakers in your main electrical panel. If the system is submerged for a significant period of time, have it inspected by an HVAC professional before tuning it back on.
Should the Condenser be Covered?
In most cases, the condenser unit should never be covered. Rain cannot harm the condenser, as long as the moisture can evaporate freely, and neither can the cooler weather of a Florida winter. In colder climates, some people cover the condenser during the winter to prevent accumulations of snow, leaves and debris, but it is not necessary. In fact, it can actually cause damage by trapping condensation beneath the cover, leading to corrosion and other damage.
The only time that you should cover the condenser is during extremely strong storms, such as hurricanes, to prevent damage from wind-blown debris. For this purpose, something strong, like plywood, should be secured with the power off, and it should be removed immediately after the storm. Otherwise, simply keep the condenser free of debris, and rinse the dirt out periodically.
When you have questions like “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit,” contact our team at Conditioned Air for helpful answers and HVAC advice.