If you were like me yesterday morning, you woke up at 3:00 a.m. to pretty significant thunderstorms rolling through Central Indiana. Wind gusts approaching 100 mph, torrential rain, and—most importantly to your air conditioner—hail stones up to an inch in diameter.
We all know the damage hailstones can do to our cars, roofs, and gutters. But did you know they can be just as detrimental to your central air conditioning unit? Most times, hail causes just cosmetic damage, but sometimes key components can get damaged in a serious storm.
Here’s what you need to know about hail damage to your air conditioner.
With central air conditioning, some components sit inside your home, safe from storms. But outside your home also sits the condenser unit that holds many key components for extracting the air from inside your house, cooling it across refrigerated coils, and blowing it back into your home—including a condenser coil, refrigerant, compressor, fan unit, and metal fins.
And while your unit consists of metal walls and screens—designed to protect many elements—it’s not fully impenetrable. Hail can still dent the outside of your air conditioning unit. But more importantly, it can also dent the fan’s fins, which—while made from metal—are still fairly soft and malleable.
Enough hail abuse can reshape the fins inside your condenser unit and render them inoperable, or ineffective at best. And what does that mean?
Damaged metal fins reduces the air flow throughout your system. And as a result, less hot air flow gets pulled from your house, meaning less cool air can be produced from the refrigerated coils. In short, your unit’s working harder to produce minimal results.
In short, it means you’ll be hot inside your house.
After a hailstorm, you may notice your air conditioner running less efficiently. And if that’s the case, it’s a good idea to first check your homeowners insurance and see if your policy covers HVAC damage. Then call a licensed contractor to review your system. If you are covered, be sure to let your technician know you only want an assessment at this time. If you’re not covered, some work may need to be done, depending on the findings from the assessment.
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