You’ve probably noticed that a large piece of equipment, the outside component of your A/C or heat pump system, is stationed outside where it’s exposed to the elements. You may think it’s strange to operate such a large electrically powered machine outside while it’s being soaked by heavy rain. You might be asking yourself these questions: Does rain affect my A/C unit? Is there anything I should do to protect it?
The Condenser/Compressor Unit
The unit you see operating outside is called various things (including condenser/compressor or condensing unit), and it’s the outside half of your split-system A/C or heat pump. Its other half, the evaporator, operates inside the house, either attached to the furnace or with a stand-alone air handler. The good news is that this piece of outdoor equipment has been designed to withstand the elements – even a heavy downpour. Unless there is something wrong with your air conditioning unit, heavy rains should have no effect on the condition or performance of the condensing unit. If, however, the unit is submerged in flood waters, it will be severely damaged or destroyed.
Not only is it safe to use your central air when it’s raining, but you’ll experience the added benefit of dehumidifying your entire home. Rainfall outside means humidity inside, so keeping your A/C running during the rain maintains a comfortable, dry environment inside your home.
Using a Cover
If you do decide to cover your air conditioner during the off season, be sure to use a purpose-built cover recommended by the manufacturer of your A/C. Your outdoor unit may be damaged the wrong type of cover, which won’t allow air to circulate inside of the unit. The lack of small ventilation openings in the cover allows moisture from becoming trapped and causing corrosion and other issues. Many homeowners seem to do OK by not covering their outside unit at all during the cold months. And of course, you don’t want to cover your heat pump if it’s continuing to operate as a heater during the winter.
If you have any questions about your air conditioner or you’d like to schedule a routine check-up, please contact us at Aqua Plumbing & Air. We have provided Sarasota and Manatee County with quality service since 1974.