When lightning is in the forecast, the smartest thing you can do is to turn off your air conditioner. This may sound like an absolute nightmare during those hotter days on the calendar, but it is absolutely worth it to prevent major damage (and costly repairs) from happening to your system.
After lightning strikes your AC unit, you may notice the difference in its performance right away, or it could take weeks or even months to notice something is up. What’s worse, the damage that takes longer to appear is usually the damage that costs more to repair.
You should absolutely turn your AC off during a thunderstorm, but if it’s already too late and your unit has suffered damage, don’t panic. Our team at Ambient Edge is available anytime, day or night, to help. Give our experienced professionals a call at (888) 240-8283, and we will come take a look at your system. If you do need a repair, and you hire us to do it, then your service call is absolutely free! So, don’t wait. Call today!
Preventing Damage to Your AC During a Lightning Storm
Turning your air conditioner off before a lightning storm starts is the only thing you can do to try to save it from being struck. Yes, the odds of suffering a lightning strike are incredibly small, but it is more likely to strike if your unit is already on and generating electricity.
Turning off your AC is not foolproof by any means, but you may be able to save yourself some money – and save your unit from damage – by turning it off as soon as possible. Even if you still have to pay for a minor repair, that is much better than having to replace, say, the compressor or the entire unit itself, which is significantly more expensive and time-consuming (especially during a heat wave).
Surge protectors and surge suppressors are also helpful for saving both your AC and your electrical outlets.
How to Know If Your AC Was Struck By Lightning
After the lightning storm has passed, how can you tell if your AC unit was hit during the storm?
If there is no obvious damage to your AC unit, then your first move should be to check the thermostat. If it’s off, try turning it back on. If it doesn’t respond, check to ensure that your circuit breaker hasn’t flipped. Even if it hasn’t, flip it off and then back on again to reset it.
Next, replace the battery in your thermostat. If it still won’t turn on, that’s when you should give our team at Ambient Edge a call to come take a look.
If the thermostat turns on, your next step should be to set the unit to “fan”, then see if the fan comes on around the same time as the condenser. If not, then you’ll need to call a professional to take a look.
Another smart move is to document the date and time that the storm occurred in case you need it for a damage claim down the road. If there is obvious damage to the unit, document this too with pictures or video footage.
The Damage Lightning Can Cause to an AC Unit
When lightning strikes your air conditioner, there are several parts it can affect. If your air conditioner is off, these parts may only suffer minor damage as a result, or even no damage at all:
- Fuses: When you turn off your AC, you prevent lightning from being attracted to your electric lines, which can trip your breaker or, in a much worse scenario, burn your fuses.
- Wires: Turning off your AC protects your wires from suffering lightning damage.
- Capacitor: Of all the parts in your AC, its capacitor is the most vulnerable to a lightning strike. Like the engine in a car, if something goes wrong with your capacitor, this can cause a chain reaction with other parts within your unit.
- Compressor: You definitely don’t want something to happen to your compressor. Not only does it take the longest to diagnose if it suffered any damage, but if it does, it’s one of the most expensive parts to fix.
Is Your Air Conditioner Not Working Properly After a Lightning Storm? Let Ambient Edge Take a Look!
If your AC unit isn’t working the same after a lightning storm, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was hit. It could be one of those crazy coincidences in life and it was due to break down anyway regardless of the storm.
If your AC unit is down, Ambient Edge can help. Give our friendly and experienced team a call at (888) 240-8283, or message us on our website, and we’ll schedule you for the next available appointment that works best for your schedule. Lightning storms can be scary, but being without your AC on a hot day is even scarier! Don’t suffer and swelter without your AC – give Ambient Edge a call today.