Texas. The word brings thoughts of perpetually hot, sunny weather and air conditioning during summer. But Texas suffers anywhere between 30 and 60 thunderstorms yearly. 

Summer weather is perfect conditions for thunderstorms. The heated atmosphere holds more humidity, which helps make clouds. Specifically cumulonimbus — or thunder and lightning clouds.

Unfortunately, many Kingwood, TX residents may find their AC won’t turn on after said storms. It’s not uncommon for air conditioner issues to happen after summer storms, but what can you do about it? 

Below are some common AC repair issues and methods you can use to troubleshoot. Read on to learn more about what to do when your AC stops working after a storm. 

Can You Use Your Air Conditioner During a Thunderstorm? 

It may sound obvious that using your air conditioner in a storm is a bad idea and you’d be right to assume so. To clarify, you technically can use your AC or any electronics during a thunderstorm. It just isn’t a great idea.

You may damage the electrical components. Turn off and disconnect the AC unit from its power source if you’re leaving home due to a severe storm or are concerned about electrical damage.

Storms can still damage electronics even when they’re off. Don’t reconnect the air conditioner until after the storm has passed. Make sure there are no signs that your other electronics are malfunctioning. 

AC Troubleshooting: What’s the Cause? 

Lightning strikes, power surges, and physical damage are the three culprits behind air conditioner issues after storms. When lighting hits an electrical service drop, where utility lines connect to houses, it overloads the system.

Millions of volts rush through your home’s electrical system, which might trip the circuit breakers. However, there’s a chance the enormous energy surge can severely damage your electronics, including the AC system. 

However, the odds of your home getting hit by lightning is 1 in 200. Power surges are much more common. A power surge is a temporary increase in voltage, current, or power in electrical circuits. 

These surges often happen after power outages during storms. Unfortunately, your electrical system is vulnerable to power surges and it’s not uncommon for electrical damage to occur. 

Physical damage can affect the outdoor condenser. Heavy winds, weighty debris, and hail can dent smash into your unit and prevent cold air from blowing inside. 

Resetting Your Air Conditioner

While electrical damage may be why your AC won’t turn on, there are a few things you can try before worrying about that. You can try restarting your unit first. 

Restarting your cooling system is a common form of AC storm repair after a power surge trips the breaker. A breaker tripping, despite the inconvenience, is a good thing.

That means the breaker is doing its job of keeping your air conditioner safe. Here’s what to do to restart your AC:

  • Turn your air conditioner off at the thermostat
  • Go to your electrical panel and find the AC circuit breaker
  • Turn the switch OFF, then back ON
    • This step resets the external circuit breaker
  • Wait 30 minutes and make sure the thermostat is off
    • This is so the internal circuit breaker resets
    • The breaker won’t reset if the thermostat is set to cool
  • Once 30 minutes pass, you can set the thermostat to cool
    • Your AC will likely turn back on
    • If not, you may have electrical damage

AC Storm Repair: Other Troubleshooting Tips

If the reset doesn’t work, check the capacitor. The capacitor is a small cylinder-shaped object that starts up the compressor, located outside. You should find it in the side panel. 

Remove the panel and check its condition. A damaged compressor, will bulge at the top or leak viscous fluid. 

A total compressor failure is costly. Fortunately, it’s relatively rare, even in older units. In all these instances, you’ll need the help of a professional technician. 

If you see this, the only choice is to replace it — something that should be left to a professional. Another issue is that the fan may not be running properly.

Electrical surges can knock out the fan’s motor. If the fan does restart, it may not run efficiently. The fan may not have the capacity to cool the condenser coils. 

The air conditioner must work harder to offset the internal heat if the condenser coils aren’t cooled efficiently. At that point, you’ll experience greater power consumption and worsening performance. 

If it looks like your AC fan is spinning slowly or not at all, you may need a replacement. Call a technician to replace the fan for you. Like the capacitor, any job requiring electrical work requires an expert hand. 

Unidentifiable Air Conditioner Issues: What to Do?

Sometimes you can’t diagnose what’s wrong, which is a problem when commencing with AC storm repair. “Electrical problems” are a wide range of issues.

For example, constant breaker tripping may come from a refrigerant leak. To clarify, lightning strikes can cause refrigerant leaks in HVAC systems. If there isn’t enough, the AC has to work harder to cool effectively. 

Eventually, your unit may experience overheating and a tripped breaker. If your AC has a constantly tripping circuit breaker, do not cut it back on.

You could risk a fire if you switch it back on. Another possible problem may be that one or more external breakers won’t reset.

In this case, there’s probably electrical damage affecting your entire house and not just your air conditioner. As stated earlier, the cause is either a lightning strike or a power surge.

AC Won’t Turn On? Call the Professionals

Many summer cooling problems come from the aftermath of a rough storm. You can try resetting the unit, but if that doesn’t work, there’s not much else you can do alone. 

You can inspect for damages, but most issues need a professional eye and hand. If your AC won’t turn on, Guy’s Air Conditioning and Heating is here to aid you and your fellow Kingwood, TX residents. 

We offer cooling, heating, commercial, and HVAC filter services. We also have 24/7 emergency services — including maintenance and repair work.

Contact us for AC troubleshooting and repair. Don’t hesitate to inquire about our discounts and specials.