AC Systems | How to Weather Severe Weather

Lightning StrikePart 1: How Lightning Strikes

While Florida is called the Sunshine State it is notorious for thunderstorms and lightning strikes. This severe weather becomes especially frequent in the summer months. That’s why Custom Climate Concepts will thoroughly cover the many aspects of how severe weather can impact your home’s AC system in its next few blogs. In the coming weeks look for:

  • Part 2: How to Prevent Lightning Damage
  • Part 3- What to Expect About Insurance Claims
  • Part 4- Air Conditioner Care and Safety Tips in the Case of a Hurricane

Let’s begin with a look at how, and the ways in which, lightning could damage your AC system. While it is the thunder and lightning that are most dramatic, it is typically not the initial lightning strike that does the damage to HVAC units. It is the power surges that follow an outage that can cause air conditioners to experience damage from a storm.

What is a Power Surge?

A power surge is when your home’s electricity spikes – from a usual 120-volt, 60 Hz, single-phase electric power – to 169 volts. This causes damage to appliances and electronics that rely on that power to work. Plus, spikes in voltage vary in both duration and magnitude.

When lightning strikes damage your air conditioning system the effect may not be immediately evident. You may only begin to notice that your air conditioner isn’t working as well as it should after a few weeks, or even months. Therefore, you will want to stay on the lookout for potential problems. They can include:

  • Capacitor damage:  Following a power surge one of the most common air conditioning parts to give way is the capacitor. Subsequently, if your capacitor goes, it can easily lead to compressor failure.
  • Blown fuses: If a spike in voltage has damaged your air conditioner it could also have caused the breaker to trip or fuses to blow due to damaged electrical lines.
  • Burned wires: A power surge could damage electrical wires within the air conditioner, or within your home, that may effect the ability for the system to work properly, or work at all.
  • Damaged compressor: One of the most expensive parts to fix in an air conditioning unit – a damaged compressor – may not be noticeable right away. Like capacitor damage it can take weeks or months for an air conditioning unit to finally fail and indicate that yes, the compressor was damaged after all.

The solutions to these problems can range from simple fixes to expensive replacements. Get a jump on your situation by contacting the experts at Custom Climate Concepts promptly, at 941-955-COOL (2665), if you suspect lightning may have damaged your AC system in any way.