Should I Turn Off My HVAC Unit If It Is Lightning?

The hot, humid summer conditions that make you want to crank the air conditioner also create the ideal conditions for thunderstorms. Operating your air conditioner during a thunderstorm can lead to some damage to your unit, so it’s best to shut it down when the weather starts acting up. Luckily, humidity and temperature drops when storms roll in, so you’ll get some relief even though your air conditioner is not in use.

Make no mistake about it: damage caused by a lightning strike can kill your air conditioner, which is full of sensitive electrical circuitry. This could lead to a costly air conditioning repair.

What are the possible damages that can occur if you leave your unit on. 

  • Lightning Strikes. If lightning should strike a home the electrical service will drop where your utility lines connect to the house on the roof. This is a very vulnerable point for lightning strikes. If lightning strikes at this point, it can cause a significant power surge through your home’s electrical system. As much as five billion volts of energy can be sent through your home’s wiring before the breakers are triggered to trip. In this fraction of a second, the surge can cause serious damage to your air conditioner if it is in operation.
  • Damaged Capacitor & Damaged Compressor

It’s one of the parts most commonly affected by lightning and one of the most common problems associated with a damaged air conditioner. Basically if the capacitor goes, the compressor will soon follow. A compressor is one of the most expensive parts of an air conditioner to fix or replace. It can take months for an air conditioning system to fail after the compressor has been damaged. A spike in voltage could also cause the breaker to trip or fuses to blow due to damaged electrical lines. A power surge can burn electrical wires within the air conditioner or within your home, which could lead to air conditioning unit failure.

An air conditioner’s system controls can be corrupted if a lightning strike occurs while the system is operating. It may not damage your HVAC unit right away. But the power surges that follow an outage from a thunderstorm can mess up your air conditioner and you will need a 5 star hvac company in the Myrtle Beach area. Power surges create a spike in voltage that can damage appliances and electronics. The effects of lightning strikes on an air conditioning unit may not be immediately noticeable. However, you may experience poor performance and notice things are not right.

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