You probably know that your AC unit can wear out over time, and you might expect more frequent failures on aging systems. While all HVAC equipment eventually reaches the end of its lifespan, even relatively new systems can suffer damage from some surprising sources. These problems can lead to expensive component replacements on equipment with many years of life left.
Keep reading if you're curious about what types of damage your air conditioner might face. This guide will cover three potentially surprising situations that can leave you sweating with an expensive repair bill.
1. Power Outages
Power outages can damage sensitive electronics and electrical equipment, including your home's HVAC system. An outage will typically affect your equipment either due to a sudden current surge or due to motors abruptly stopping and starting. Some of the costliest equipment on your air conditioner may be vulnerable, including your compressor and blower motors.
While you may not be able to prevent all damage, one step you can take is to flip your air conditioner off following an outage. This measure will help protect the unit from a power surge once the utility company restores your electricity. If you notice unusual behavior when the power comes back on, stop using the system and call an HVAC contractor to avoid causing any additional damage.
2. Storm Debris
Your air conditioner's condenser spends its life exposed to the elements, so manufacturers design these units to be relatively robust and weather resistant. However, weather resistant and weatherproof aren't necessarily the same. While your condenser can withstand driving rain, heavy snow, and rapid temperature changes, there are still plenty of ways for stormy weather to affect it.
Storm debris is one potential source of damage. Heavy storms can potentially drive branches or other debris into vulnerable areas, including the blower grill on top of the unit or the condenser fins that surround it. It's a good idea to check and remove any debris you find following a storm. If the unit appears damaged, contact a professional to perform a more thorough evaluation.
3. Falling Icicles
You've probably heard roofers say that icicles forming along your gutters are a sign of problems in your attic, but they can also threaten your AC condenser. While you generally don't need to worry about snow falling into the unit, a falling icicle can cause substantial damage. These icy projectiles can bend fins, damage your condenser blower, or even cause damage to the compressor.
If your home is prone to icicles, you may want to consider taking some preventative measures. While covering your unit in a tarp over the winter isn't necessary, a simple piece of plywood to protect against falling ice can help. If an icicle hits the condenser, consider having the unit examined before turning it back on in the summer.
If you are in need of air conditioning repair services, contact an HVAC contractor today.