In areas with high summer temperatures, having air conditioning is essential for staying comfortable. AC is practically a lifesaver in the hotter months, so naturally, people want to take good care of their units. During a heavy rainstorm, many homeowners worry that their air conditioning unit will be damaged.
Luckily, most of the outdoor AC unit's components are designed to resist water damage. All the exposed pieces are made of metal, copper, and aluminum and can avoid damage from heavy rainfall. All the electrical components are safely sealed inside the unit and cannot be affected by rain. Some homeowners still worry, though, and try to protect their unit from the rain by covering it with a tarp. This can actually cause more damage, especially if it remains on the unit for an extended length of time. It can reduce air circulation and lead to the buildup of rust.
Heavy rain most likely will not damage your AC. However, some of the weather conditions that sometimes accompany rain could cause some damage. Storms bring high winds that usually cause tree branches or other objects to fall. Depending on the location of your home and your AC unit, a branch or an object from your yard could fall on the unit and damage it. If possible, clear the area around the AC of any patio furniture, tools, toys, or other objects if you're expecting a storm.
Wind could also cause leaves, dirt, or other debris to get caught inside the unit. You could cover your air conditioning unit for the duration of a severe storm, but remember to remove the covering immediately after the storm dies down. After a storm, especially one with strong winds, inspect the inside and the outside of the unit to make sure it's unharmed.
Severe flooding could also cause damage to your AC. A few inches of water shouldn't be a problem, but if the flooding rises above 15 inches, it could damage the electrical components of the outdoor unit. If your home does experience severe flooding, don't turn your AC on until your HVAC professional checks it out.
Although rain on its own will not damage your AC, other weather conditions can harm the outdoor unit. Stay informed about upcoming severe weather, and inspect your unit for damage immediately after a rainstorm or thunderstorm. If you think your air conditioning unit might be damaged, contact an HVAC professional to take care of the problem.