Heavy rain and thunderstorms are routine events in Pompano Beach, Margate, Oakland Park, and the surrounding area. As Floridians, we’re comfortable with severe weather events, but that doesn’t mean we don’t take proactive steps to keep our families and homes safe.
That’s why we recommend turning off your air conditioner during storms. It’s the best way to prevent electrical damage to your AC unit and your entire HVAC system.
What’s the Risk?
Even brief summer thunderstorms pose a threat: a house stands a 1 in 200 chance of being directly hit by lightning. In 2021, more than 5,000 Florida homes or business owners submitted insurance claims for lightning strikes strong enough to cause damage, with an average claim of over $16,500.
That is about 16,500 good reasons to lower the risk of a lightning strike. But your home doesn’t just have to be directly hit to cause damage. An electrical surge caused by a lightning strike somewhere else can do its own damage. When you turn off your AC during a storm, you’re making it harder for a power surge to travel through your electrical system to fry your unit.
Related: Stay Safe During Summer Heat Waves
But What Happens if Lightning Strikes an Air Conditioner?
Sure, lightning can damage your home, but an AC unit is a relatively small target. However, your home is a much larger target, and lightning can travel through your electrical system to impact your air conditioner. Running electricity through your AC also increases the likelihood of a strike finding its way to your unit. So, what happens if a strike actually does manage to land?
In short, it can ruin your air conditioner. A lightning strike to your home can deliver well over a million volts of electricity, frying circuits and melting plugs and AC components. If the air conditioner is running, the power surge can travel throughout your HVAC system to damage other heating and cooling elements and even your thermostat. Even if a strike only impacts your electricity-powered thermostat, it can make your HVAC controls everything from unreliable to unusable.
So, Is It Safe to Have My AC on During a Storm?
While turning off your air conditioner during a thunderstorm won’t protect you from a lightning strike directly to the unit, it will help prevent damage from the power surges that are much more likely to occur.
Using any electrical equipment or devices during a thunderstorm increases the risk of injury. Turn off your AC during a storm and try to touch anything that’s physically connected to your home’s electrical circuitry as little as possible. That includes:
Computers and laptops (if they’re plugged in)
Washers and dryers
Telephones (if they’re plugged in)
Post-Storm Air Conditioning Assessment
Once the weather clears, Pompano Beach homeowners are often quick to turn the air conditioning units back on to remove the hot, humid air inside their homes. Before you do, check your circuit breaker to see if any circuits were thrown during the storm. If any circuits are tripped, it could be a sign that your home experienced a lightning strike, even if the power is still on.
If you suspect storm damage, contact an electrician before attempting to turn on any appliances or devices connected to a broken circuit.
What If My Air Conditioner Isn’t Working After a Storm?
If your AC, thermostat, or other HVAC equipment won’t turn on after a storm, there could be storm damage. Contact One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Pompano Beach to handle AC repairs, including physical damage to evaporator coils.
Weather the Storm Safely with Pompano Beach’s HVAC Experts
Face the next summer storm with confidence; turn off your AC and other electric appliances to prevent damage and stay safe. For a post-storm assessment or routine maintenance, you can always count on us. Book an appointment online or call (954) 379-8260 today!