Few give any thoughts to how the HVAC system is impacted by the rain. Where rain can have brief spouts here and there or have a down pour for days, some homeowners express concern for their HVAC system during heavy rainfall. Where the outdoor units are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and even a little hail, there are some clarifications we at JMS Air Conditioning and Heating would like to elaborate on how the rain impacts the HVAC system.
Heat Pump or Split System HVAC Design
To pump heat from inside your home to the outdoor environment, the air conditioner utilizes heat pump technology. The outdoor unit is an air conditioner or a heat pump capable of both heating and cooling, depending on your system. A split system is where a unit is located outside, which is the compressor and condenser, and the other unit is located indoors, which is the evaporator coil and blower. The outdoor unit is designed to withstand extreme conditions with the knowing exposure to the elements. The electrical components are sealed with sturdy, corrosion-proof materials, like aluminum, copper, and plastics, to offer protection from the rain and moisture. However, it is important to note that your outdoor unit is still vulnerable to falling tree limbs, flooding rains, and wind-driven debris, as well as salty air. Ultimately, professional care and maintenance along with your own efforts to keep the unit clean and protected is the best preventative care.
Running Outdoor AC Unit in Rain
The outdoor unit is only impacted by flooding, as it is designed to withstand rainfall. The wiring, electronics, and motor can be potentially damaged should water start to partially submerge the unit. Turn off the HVAC system at the electrical panel, in the event the outdoor unit is partially or fully submerged. Otherwise, the unit should hold up fine during other instances and it is perfectly safe to run your heater or air conditioner while it’s raining or storming outside.
Central Air Conditioner Covers for Winter
In general, it is not recommended that you cover the condenser unit as it is engineered to endure moisture and extreme temperatures. Some people will opt to cover their units in the winter (if it is just an air conditioner) to protect it from the rain, debris, leaves, and other elements, although this can potentially be more harmful than good. Moisture needs to be able to evaporate. If the moisture collects under the trapping of a cover, corrosion and other damage can be produced. Additionally, never stack anything on top of the unit or next to it, you want at least 3 feet of clearance. To allow proper airflow and offer the unit additional protection, you can build an awning around it.
Installing or Servicing HVAC in the Rain
Typically, technicians do not provide service to outdoor units in the rain. Electrical components and water can cause damage to the unit, and if the unit is on the roof, there is even more danger. In an emergency situation, most experts will respond, but the work may not be done until the weather clears up.