Air conditioner in thunderstorm

Running your AC in Extreme Weather

Las Vegas gets an abnormally high amount of thunderstorms. While it doesn’t rain often – when it rains, it pours, and usually with lightning. When bad weather strikes, you may be tempted to crank up the AC and wait it out, particularly if the humidity rises and there is a thunderstorm. Have you ever been told that running the AC during a thunderstorm is a bad idea? Read on to find out if there is any truth behind this claim.

Using AC During Thunder and Lightning

Many people run around their home, shutting everything off during a lighting storm. Others believe that surge protector is plenty of protection against a lightning strike. Which one is right? When it comes to air conditioning, the former wins. Lightning causes a surge of electricity so powerful that a typical surge protector can’t stop it. So even if you do plug your AC unit into a surge protector, it is likely to suffer damage.

When your home is struck by lightning, a surge of power that may be as high as five billion joules will course through the wiring. Any device that is drawing power at that instant will be open to letting all of the power in at once. This can cause serious damage to your AC unit, possibly requiring the entire component to be replaced. Your best bet is to open up the windows and let the cool air from the storm keep the house temperature down until the thunder and lightning passes.

Protecting your Air Conditioner

Is there anything you can do to protect your AC unit? As mentioned above, a surge protector isn’t going to offer much in the way of stopping power. You can, however, have things like lightning rods attached to your home.

A metal rod attracts a lightning strike and directs all that energy straight to the ground instead of letting it course through the wiring inside of your home. The power is never able to reach any of the devices that are plugged in. While a lightning rod isn’t 100% effective, it should provide you enough protection if your AC is turned off at the same time.

What About the Rain?

Once the light show has dissipated, it should be fine to crank the AC back up. As a matter of fact, an air conditioner is designed to remove humidity. This means that on humid rainy days, your air conditioner is capable of keeping the house not only cool but lowering the humidity to make the air feel much cooler.

Make sure to keep an eye on your outdoor unit. If it is raining long or hard enough for your outdoor unit to be in a puddle or in some way submerged, turn your AC off. You could damage your home’s electric system as well as the AC unit.

If you need to have an AC unit repaired from any type of storm damage, contact the AC experts at Executive Air Conditioning. We can have your unit repaired and ready to keep you cool in no time!

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