How does Rain affect My Air Conditioning Unit?
In Florida, we are lucky to see sunny skies for most of the year. But there are still a few months in the spring that often bring the rainy season. Because half of a central air conditioning system lives outside, we have received many questions from homeowners about the effects of rain on an outdoor air conditioning unit. Can the outdoor condenser withstand rain? Should you cover your condenser? Do you need air conditioning repair in Central Florida after a heavy rainstorm? Here is what you should know:
Can the Outdoor Condenser Withstand Rain?
Modern outdoor condensers contain the condenser, compressor, a system fan and electrical connections. They are made of aluminum, copper, strong plastics, and other materials that are not susceptible to rust, rot, or decay. The electrical components and connections are sealed so they are impervious to indirect moisture. They are also designed and engineered to withstand even acute rainfall. Your air conditioner will continue to cool and dehumidify your home, even during a heavy rainstorm. But this doesn’t mean you can ignore your condenser completely. There are still caveats and other weather-related problems to keep in mind.
1. Storm Damage
While rain is not likely to destroy your outdoor air conditioning unit, high winds could be a concern. High winds are often accompanied by debris and falling objects like leaves and branches. If something like a tree branch blows across the yard and into the condenser it can damage the fan grille or deposit debris inside. After a windstorm, you will want to inspect the unit for damage and maybe call a technician for repairs if you notice something amiss.
Several inches of rain from a storm should not threaten your air conditioning. But deep standing water is a major concern. For the most part, your unit will be fine as long as waters don’t exceed 15 inches in depth. Most of the moving parts and electrical components will remain functional once the flooding recedes. But with more severe flooding you will want to check the unit before you restart it, especially if any part of the condenser was submerged.
3. Internal Corrosion
With enough ventilation, moisture from rainfall will evaporate on its own. However, if moisture is trapped inside it can expose the internal components to damage from rot, rust, and corrosion.
Should I Cover My Condenser?
Some homeowners think it wise to cover their condenser in the winter with a tarp when it is not in use. What they may not realize is this can trap moisture inside the unit and cause several problems. There is no need to cover your air conditioning unit during a rainstorm. The only time to really cover the condenser is during extreme weather such as hurricanes. And the covering should be removed immediately after the storm. And if you do want to cover your condenser during winter, find a commercial grade cover with vents that will give moisture the chance to dry up or evaporate.