Although we don’t have too many rainy days each year in San Antonio, TX, plenty of homeowners come to us with worries about how rain might affect their home’s AC system. That’s understandable, given how big an investment an AC system is and how vital air conditioning is in the summer. In response, we do our best to reassure worried homeowners about the effects of rain on their AC. However, the experts here at Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company thought that a deeper dive into rain and its effects on air conditioning systems might be helpful. We’ll discuss how modern AC equipment stands up to the elements, the three ways rain can affect your home’s AC system, and how you can keep those effects in check.
Is Rain Dangerous for My Air Conditioner?
The simple answer to the question of whether rain is dangerous for your home’s air conditioner is no. Although the AC systems sold in the distant past were somewhat vulnerable to rain-related wear and tear, modern systems don’t have that problem. That’s because they’re made of tougher materials that resist rust, and vulnerable parts often have rust-proof coatings to protect them.
Of course, none of this means your AC is impervious to rain-related damage. In general, it’s normal to start seeing signs of rust and other deterioration of your outdoor unit when it’s around 10 years old or more. The rust may appear on the outdoor unit’s compressor, fittings, or the housing of the unit’s main fan. In most cases, the rust is little more than cosmetic and won’t affect the operation of your AC. However, benign cases of rust shouldn’t spread quickly. So, if you notice any rust on your outdoor unit that’s progressing rapidly, you’ll want a qualified HVAC technician to take a look and make certain the rust isn’t hiding an underlying problem.
However, periodic rain can and will cause issues for your AC under certain conditions. The following are three of the ways it might happen.
Rain Can Cause Electrical System Deterioration
The one part of your AC system that can have problems due to rain is its electrical system. More specifically, some of the wiring and terminals in your AC’s outdoor unit may corrode over time with exposure to moisture. In most cases, this won’t cause enough corrosion to interrupt the operation of your AC. However, if the rust advances enough, you might need to take corrective action.
One of the parts that may fail due to rust is the electrical connectors on your outdoor unit’s power wires. In some cases, the rust may also impact your AC’s capacitor and relay, leading to their failure. It’s important to note, however, that most AC outdoor units do a good job of keeping moisture away from those components. So, if your AC suffers from this problem, there could be a defect that’s allowing water to enter parts of your outdoor unit that should be relatively watertight. Again, this is something you’d want qualified HVAC technicians to check so they can pinpoint the source of the issue.
Standing Water Can Damage Your AC
Another possible way that rain might affect your AC system is that it could cause standing water near your outdoor unit. This may happen as a result of poor drainage around your home or a problem with your home’s gutters. If water accumulates around the base of your AC’s outdoor unit, it can do some damage if left unchecked.
The good news is that standing water only becomes a problem if it reaches the interior of your AC’s outdoor unit. In most installations, this would mean more than two or three inches of water accumulating around your outdoor unit. This should give you plenty of time to address the problem before it can do any damage to your AC.
If water starts pooling around your outdoor unit and you don’t notice in time to prevent it from rising too high, you should turn off your AC immediately. Then, you should turn off the power to your system before taking steps to remove the water. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to let your outdoor unit dry out before turning it back on. In most cases, your AC will be no worse for the wear. However, if you wait too long to take action, your AC could suffer damage that will require professional AC repair services.
Debris From Rainstorms Can Cause Problems
The final way that rain might cause trouble for your home’s AC has nothing to do with moisture. Rather, it can come from any debris a rainstorm might deposit in and around your outdoor AC unit. Things like leaves, twigs, and other detritus can work their way into your outdoor AC unit during a storm. When that happens, it may compromise the condenser coil’s ability to transfer heat into the surrounding environment. Then your AC will either run for much longer than it should have to, or it may not provide adequate cooling in your home at all.
The good news is that most dirt and debris entering your outdoor unit won’t cause any permanent damage. However, this assumes you’re diligent about removing the debris and not allowing your system to keep operating in a compromised state. To do this, you can turn off the power to your AC system and use a garden hose to rinse away any accumulated dirt. If you notice any twigs or other matter that’s entered your outdoor unit, you should attempt to remove them. Just be careful if there’s any debris in contact with your condenser’s fins. They’re quite delicate and bend easily. If you’re unsure about how to adequately clean your AC’s outdoor unit, call for some professional help.
Avoiding Rain-Related AC Damage
The best way to keep potential rain-related AC damage in check is to schedule regular AC maintenance visits from Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company. Our expert HVAC technicians have the experience necessary to spot signs of corrosion or other rain-related damage before it turns into a problem. They’re well-equipped to take remediation steps when they see signs of trouble and can even point out potential trouble spots for you to keep an eye on.
Trust Your Local HVAC Experts
For almost a decade, Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company has served homeowners in and around the San Antonio area with pride and dedication. We offer comprehensive HVAC services, including new system installations, repairs, and maintenance. We also offer indoor air quality solutions and duct cleaning. We work on commercial equipment, too. We’re proud of our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, as well as the long list of satisfied customers who sing our praises on multiple online review forums. Plus, we offer financing on approved credit to help you achieve the financial flexibility you need to meet your home’s HVAC needs.
So, for regular AC maintenance to prevent rain-related wear and tear or any of your other HVAC needs in San Antonio, contact the experts at Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company today!