How Does Rain Impact Your AC Unit?

Jul 21, 2021

Some things in life are beyond our control. Take the weather in Winnipeg for example…

Ever wonder how your outdoor AC unit handles rain, snow, and thunderstorms? Since your unit is outdoors year-round, it’s subject to every weather condition under the sun. It endures frosty snowfalls, intense heat, and buckets of rain. How does it stay functional?

Air conditioners are designed with outdoor elements in mind. Most are sealed to protect the inner components of the system. However, extreme conditions put these units to the test. Here’s how weather can impact your AC unit:

Lightning Strikes

Most of us have seen what a zap of electricity can do to our phones and computers—what about an air conditioner? 

If a thunderstorm is forecast in your area, you may want to shut off the breaker to your air conditioner. This will prevent a power surge from occurring if lightning strikes the unit. Taking this preventative action can save you from having to replace your air conditioner. 

While this event is unlikely, you’ll thank yourself for being cautious if lightning does strike your AC unit.


You know that moderate rainfall won’t cause major problems for your air conditioner. But what happens when your unit is submerged in water?

Outdoor systems aren’t built to withstand floods—they aren’t 100% waterproof, especially if there are cracks in the protective covering. If you’re concerned about the status of your air conditioner after a flood, wait to have it inspected before turning it on again. 


Even if your unit is impervious to heavy rainfall, strong gusts of wind pose other problems. They might send debris like branches, leaves, and dirt flying into your air conditioner. If these objects become stuck within the unit, they can restrict airflow. In turn, this can damage the components and compromise its efficiency. 

To prevent this from happening, try to clean the area around your unit before and after a rainstorm. Pick up any stray branches and trim the grass or plants nearby.

Can Rain Be Beneficial For Your Air Conditioner?

There’s something to be said about the benefits of heavy rainfall—if you’ve ever left a dirty car outside when it was raining, then you’ll know what we’re talking about. Sometimes, Mother Nature’s showers can be helpful; the rain can wash away dirt and debris.

As long as the rain isn’t too strong, it can clean the surface layer of scum from the unit. This improves its appearance and may even dislodge dirt from the components.

How To Protect Your AC Unit

Your AC unit may have been waterproof when it was first installed, but its defences will deteriorate over time. What can you do to keep it safe?

Some homeowners choose to cover the units in plastic during extreme weather events. However, this could restrict the ventilation of the unit and trap moisture inside. This can lead to other problems, like corrosion and mould growth. Make sure that any cover you use has ventilation holes.

By scheduling regular maintenance, you can ensure that everything is in working order. Trust your HVAC system in the hands of the professionals at Provincial Heating and Cooling. If you’re looking for air conditioning contractors in Winnipeg, give us a call!


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