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Can Lightning Ruin my AC?


When lightning strikes an air conditioning unit it can damage the system. Unfortunately, this is not a myth; it is something to be aware of and something to watch for because the effect may not be immediately apparent. Over the course of a few months following a nearby or direct lightning strike, you might notice your air conditioner doesn’t work as well.

ASAP Heating and Cooling wants you to look for some potential problems with your air conditioning following a lightning strike: 

  • Damaged compressor 
  • Burned wires
  • Damaged capacitor
  • Blown fuses

These problems can range from simple fixes to expensive replacements. In order to understand your situation, it is important to have a professional from ASAP Heating and Cooling inspect your air conditioning system. Skipping a post lighting strike inspection could cause your system further damage by allowing stressed equipment to run inefficiently and wear down other parts of your unit.

Power Surges as a Result of Lightning Strikes

Though you may fear lighting hitting your unit directly and causing damage the truth is that the initial lightning strike isn’t what typically damages an AC unit. The real damage to your air conditioning system is from the power surges that follows an outage. These surges will cause damage to your AC condenser.

ASAP Heating and Cooling would like to provide you with some ways to prevent your AC unit from being damaged during a lightning storm (these tips will not guarantee protection from damage, but will help avoid damage):

  • Shut your system off from the thermostat.
  • Shut off the electrical circuit to the entire HVAC system.
  • Purchase whole-home surge protectors.
  • If you live in a high strike area, you may need to consult a professional about installing lightning rods.

If you’ve noticed a decline in the performance of your AC after a thunderstorm it is important to call the professionals at ASAP Heating and Cooling to make sure to have your HVAC unit inspected immediately to avoid more expensive replacements down the road.

Written by Direct Heating and Cooling