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Can You Run An Air Conditioner During a Thunderstorm?

Should you turn your AC off in a thunderstorm?Spring and summer are notorious for being hot and humid across much of the United States. That’s also the perfect recipe for severe thunderstorms. But you may want to think twice before turning your AC system on the next time the weather acts up – it could cause serious damage.

Air Conditioning Units and Lightning Strikes

Even though lightning striking a home is rare, if it does happen it can really damage your air conditioning system. When lightning strikes, it can send as much as 5 billion joules of energy through your home’s electrical system. That’s way more than enough to damage your cooling system if it’s turned on.

What Can Happen If My AC Unit Takes a Lightning Strike?

For starters, lightning can melt the plug to your unit. In addition, it can damage the control panel and corrupt the entire system. The control panel is filled with sensitive electrical circuitry, so it’s best to turn it off when a storm hits.

Can I Turn On The AC If It’s Raining?

Rain alone will not harm your air conditioner. In fact, turning the system on during warm, rainy days can make your home feel much more comfortable. The only time you would need to be concerned is if the rain was severe enough to leave standing water around the unit. In that case, it would be wise to power it down.

Keeping Cool During a Thunderstorm

A stuffy home during a storm can be uncomfortable, and turning off the system can be a hassle. However, a brief period of discomfort is generally much better than having to replace your air conditioning system. As soon as lightning has stopped, you can turn your system back on. During a thunderstorm, the air temperature drops considerably. If you can, consider opening the windows and turn on any ceiling fans to help pull cooled air in and around your home until the storm passes.

If you think your house or outdoor AC unit was struck by lightning, the HVAC pros at ARS/Rescue Rooter can properly examine your system and determine if any damage has occurred. Call us right away, or book an appointment online to have us inspect your system and check for any air conditioning repair needs.

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