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Does Rain Affect A/C Performance?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When you consider that a major part of your central air conditioner system is installed outside your home, it's natural to wonder how the equipment in the outdoor cabinet will withstand the elements. Homeowners sometimes wonder: will rain affect A/C performance? Do I need to cover the outside cabinet? Here's a brief overview of air conditioner systems and their status in the rain.

Will Rain Affect A/C Performance?

In most cases, rain won't affect air conditioner performance. A/C units are designed to withstand outdoor elements such as rain, snow, wind and sun. Even heavy storms aren't likely to cause problems with how your air conditioner functions. The cabinet of the outdoor unit is intended to deflect rain and protect the system's compressor and other components from damage. In addition, the outside components are themselves relatively sturdy and difficult to damage. The evaporator coil, which is more likely to be damaged, is contained within the indoor unit in your house.

The only time rain or its effects will damage an air conditioning system is during a flood. If the outdoor or indoor components are submerged in floodwater, they're likely going to be destroyed. Make sure the outdoor components are installed on high ground that won't be flooded.

If you decide to cover the outdoor A/C cabinet to protect it, make sure you use a specialized cover that still allows plenty of air circulation. You could damage the A/C equipment if you cover it with tarpaulin or other material that doesn't allow enough airflow, moisture will be trapped inside, potentially damaging components.

Can a Central Air Conditioner Be Used in the Rain?

Even when it's raining, it's okay to use your central air conditioning system. Part of the function of an air conditioner is removing humidity from inside your home. Humidity increases when it rains, so it's important to indoor comfort to continue operating your air conditioner even during rainstorms. The efficiency and effectiveness of the A/C system will not be impaired by rain.

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