A storm can damage your air conditioner (AC) in several ways. After a serious storm, you need to inspect your AC for signs of damage and fix them before they worsen. Below are some of the telltale signs that might mean your AC has a problem.
Various forms of AC damage can lead to impaired AC functions, so reduced cooling efficiency should be one of your first signs that something is wrong. For example, your AC's cooling capacity will suffer if the condenser coils are clogged with mud from flooding, if the AC motor has suffered electrical damage, or if a storm caused damage to the refrigerant lines that led to refrigerant leakage.
Signs of Physical Damage
An extreme storm can leave your AC system with obvious signs of physical damage. Examples of such signs include damaged condenser coils, a displaced condenser unit, disconnected electrical wires, and a displaced condenser cover, among others. You may also notice signs of water exposure on various parts of the AC, as well as mud and other debris on various parts of the AC unit.
Electrical Burning Smell
A burning electrical smell, which some people describe as similar to burning plastic, is an emergency that requires prompt intervention. You need to shut off the AC and call a technician as soon as possible. Such damage can occur due to several electrical problems. For example, an electrical power surge can damage the electrical motor and cause it to overheat. Or maybe the AC was exposed to water that created a short circuit.
Electrical damages don't always show obvious signs. However, you should suspect that something is wrong if the circuit breaker (to which the AC is connected) keeps tripping up. Maybe the floodwater, lighting strike, or cable damage created a short that is causing the breaker to trip up. It's advisable not to keep resetting the breaker if it keeps tripping up. Instead, you should call a technician to diagnose and fix the damage.
Lastly, you should also suspect storm damage if the AC cannot start up at all or struggles to start up. Maybe the start capacitor is fried up, the electrical motor is damaged, or the electrical filter or coils are clogged up with debris.
Hopefully, you won't notice any AC problems the next time a storm passes through your neighborhood. If you do notice a problem, however, it might mean there are other hidden issues. Contact a technician for a professional inspection and air conditioning repair.