Will Rain Damage A Window Air Conditioner? (Practical Tips & FAQs)

Window air conditioners are an absolute must in the summer months if your central AC doesn’t cut it- or doesn’t exist for that matter! But what happens when it rains? Will rain damage a window air conditioner?

Rain will not damage a window air conditioner if it is well-maintained and in factory condition because window air conditioners are built be weatherproof and waterproof. If the window air conditioner has a broken seal or other issue, rain water could get inside and cause problems.

Keep reading this article to learn about window unit air conditioners, how rain effects them, and tips for how to protect yours!

Will rain damage a window air conditioner?

Time to cut to the chase.

Rain will not damage your window air conditioner as long as the unit is installed correctly. Window air conditioners are made of waterproof material and are designed to withstand rain.

Make sure your window air conditioner’s electrical components are well-sealed

Likewise, it’s vital to make sure that your unit is properly installed. Not only can your AC get damaged- your walls and floors may also suffer if there’s a consistent leak.

If you realize that your window AC wasn’t installed properly, it’s worth contacting an HVAC professional.

A white window air conditioner viewed from the outside of a brick building.

Will your window air conditioner work in the rain?

You’ve got your window air conditioner. It’s getting hot, and you’re about to turn it on. But then it starts raining! What do you do?

Your window air conditioner will work in the rain as long as it is properly sealed and installed. Window air conditioners are specifically designed to be able to withstand rain.

Take a peak at your window air conditioner’s drainage system every once in a while to make sure it’s working correctly. Otherwise, running it in the rain can cause serious problems!

Can you run your window AC during a thunderstorm?

Okay, so rain is fine. Are storms any different?

You can run your window AC during a thunderstorm. There is a myth that you should turn window air conditioners off during thunderstorms so they don’t get struck by lightning, but the chances are incredibly small.

You may have heard the urban legend that running a window air conditioner during a thunderstorm will attract a lightning strike to your AC. In reality, the chances are so small that they don’t outweigh having a hot room!

Should you turn off your window air conditioner when it’s raining?

You know the answer by now.

You do not have to turn off your window air conditioner when it’s raining. Window air conditioners are designed to withstand harsh weather and work in the rain and harsh winds. But if you start to hear strange noises, you should turn your AC off. It may be an indicator that your AC is improperly installed and getting damaged from the rain.

There is no need to turn off your window AC just because it starts to rain! Window air conditioners are built to run when it’s raining.

That being said, rain can exacerbate the problems that come along with improperly installing a window AC. If your AC starts to make unusual noises or run differently, turn it off right away and check its installation when the weather clears up.

When it starts raining you may wonder, "Will rain damage a window air conditioner?" and the answer is no! This photo depicts heavy rain hitting a lake. It is dark.

Signs of Rain Damage to a Window Air Conditioner

Rain damage to a window air conditioner can manifest in various ways. While these units are designed to handle typical weather conditions, consistent exposure or unusually heavy rainfall can lead to problems. Here are signs that your window air conditioner may have sustained rain damage:

  1. Electrical Issues:
    • Tripping Circuit Breakers: If the unit frequently causes circuit breakers to trip, it might indicate that moisture has affected the electrical components.
    • Flickering or Dimming Lights: When the AC is turned on, if lights in your home flicker or dim, it could be an electrical issue possibly due to water damage.
    • Non-Operational Control Panel: If the control panel or buttons don’t respond, moisture might have infiltrated the electrical circuits.
  2. Unusual Noises:
    • Bubbling or Gurgling: Water inside the unit or refrigerant lines can cause these sounds.
    • Rattling: This might suggest that parts of the unit have come loose due to corrosion from prolonged exposure to moisture.
  3. Reduced Cooling Efficiency:
    • If the unit is not cooling as effectively as before or your notice high humidity inside, water damage might have affected its performance, potentially due to issues with the condenser coils.
  4. Unusual Odors:
    • A musty smell can indicate mold or mildew growth, which can occur if the unit retains moisture.
  5. Physical Signs:
    • Rust or Corrosion: Visible signs of rust on the exterior or interior of the unit suggest prolonged exposure to moisture, including stains on the metal.
    • Water Inside the Unit: If you see water leaks inside the unit or around it (and it’s not from the usual condensation drainage), it might be due to rainwater intrusion.
  6. Ice Formation:
    • If you notice ice forming on the coils, it could be a sign of reduced airflow or other issues, some of which might be related to moisture damage.
  7. Inconsistent Operation:
    • The unit’s compressor cycles on and off irregularly or doesn’t turn on at all, indicating potential electrical problems due to water damage.
  8. Drainage Issues:
    • If the drain hole is clogged, water might back up into the unit. While this is not directly rain damage, heavy rainfall can exacerbate pre-existing drainage problems.

If you suspect rain damage, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Leaving it unchecked can lead to more significant problems in the future, such as complete unit failure or potential electrical hazards. Consider consulting with a professional HVAC technician to assess and repair any damage.

Also be sure to visually inspect the wood around the window AC unit for signs of rot, peeling paint, or other durability issues.

How to protect your window air conditioner during the rainy season

We all want our products to last- and window AC’s are no exception!

To protect your window air conditioner during the rainy season, buy an AC cover. Make sure that it’s not polythene or plastic, as both encourage moisture buildup and mold- which is not stuff you want to be breathing in!

You technically don’t need cover for your AC in the rainy season because rain actually helps your window air conditioner run better (assuming that it is in working order!). More on that in the next section.

But if you’re really concerned about it getting damaged, do some extensive research and find a well-fitting AC cover that isn’t made of plastic or polythene.

Read Also: How Long Should I Run a Dehumidifier After a Flood – The Most Effective Guide

How rain water helps your window air conditioner

To wrap things up, let’s talk about how rainwater actually helps!

Rain helps your window air conditioner by cooling your AC’s coil and washing away dirt. These two things will improve your window air conditioner’s performance. The air quality will also be better because rain dilutes air pollutants.

Rain is like a little tune-up for your air conditioner. Rain helps clean things up and get them up and running! It cools the coils and washes away dirt, dust, and debris.

And as a bonus for you, rain helps dilute pollutants in the air- so your air conditioning will be as fresh as ever!

Should you do maintenance to your window AC after it rains?

Let’s talk about maintenance!

There is no need to do maintenance to your window AC immediately after it rains. You can look for wet spots on your walls and floor surrounding the AC to make sure everything is properly sealed, but your AC will not be damaged by the rain unless something is already wrong with it.

As you may have gathered by now, rain really is no biggy when it comes to window AC’s. So you don’t have to worry about doing any sort of maintenance post-rain unless you see signs of leaking or if your AC is making weird noises.

As a general rule, periodically check your window AC unit to make sure that leaves aren’t piling up and that the internal wiring is dry. Check the insulation to make sure it is dry, apply sealant when necessary.

A collection of different size, slightly worn wrenches piled on top of each other in no particular order.

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