Is It Okay to Run My Air Conditioner During a Thunderstorm? How Lightning Affects Your Air Conditioner

September 11, 2017 2:11 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Don’t take a shower, unplug your laptop, stay away from strange men flying kites with keys… These are just a few things from the list of dos and don’ts to follow during a thunderstorm. But what about running your air conditioning unit in Little Rock, AR during a thunderstorm?

While lightning strikes to your home are rare, lightning strikes to the utility lines leading to your home are not. When lightning strikes your utility lines, it causes a surge of electricity to travel through your electrical wires, to your outlets and into anything you have plugged in, including your AC unit.

Although most AC units are equipped with a surge protector, this is no guarantee that a surge caused by a lightning strike won’t damage your AC unit, resulting in the need for an expensive AC repair in Cabot, AR or having to replace your unit entirely. Below are just a few examples of what could happen to your air conditioning unit in Conway, AR during a thunderstorm:

  • Damaged capacitor: Your AC unit’s capacitor is a delicate part of your system and the most likely part to be damaged in the event of a power surge. A damaged capacitor can lead to further problems, including a compressor failure, one of the most expensive AC repairs.
  • Burned wires: Power surges caused by a lightning strike can actually burn the wires inside your unit. This is a problem you may not notice right away, but it can be very serious. Burned wires not only affect your AC unit’s system operations, but they can also be a fire hazard.
  • Blown fuses: Again, damage caused by a lightning strike may not be noticeable immediately. An AC unit affected by a power surge may start to trip your breaker or cause your fuses to blow before the unit itself shows damage. If you notice this problem when you turn your AC unit on after a thunderstorm, chances are there’s damage to your unit.
  • A fried system: Worst-case scenario, a power surge cause by a lightning strike can destroy your whole AC system. AC units have a lot of delicate circuitry and high-functioning motors. If the power surge is strong enough, it can damage your unit beyond repair.

So, what can you do to protect your AC system? As we mentioned earlier, a surge protector only offers minimal protection, and typically cannot stand up to the level of electricity caused by a lightning strike. The best way to protect your system during a thunderstorm is to unplug it. It may be a nuisance, but a few hours without AC is better than having to spend money on an AC repair in North Little Rock, AR that could have been avoided.

If you do find that your system is giving you issues after a thunderstorm, call Dickerson Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Service. We specialize in AC repairs and will have your system up and running again in no time. Contact us today to learn more!

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