Hail Damage | Air Conditioner and Cooling System AC Hail Damage
Charlotte and several surrounding communities were hammered by baseball sized hail on April 09, 2011. Along with learning about the effects of lightning damage to an ac, or even the HVAC damages caused by flooding, we had a question come in a from a reader in the Southpark area of Charlotte who asked Can Hail Damage the Air Conditioning system. After the storms went through their area, the AC stopped working, and obviously, hail was a suspect!
In this Charlotte Air Conditioning and HVAC Guide, we wanted to take a quick look at hail damage and the possible effect on your AC condensing unit or packaged unit.
Air Conditioner Hail Damage
Aside from the obvious cosmetic dings or small dents in the top or sides of your air conditioner, you really have to take a close look at several areas to be sure there are no other more serious ac damages from the hail. The air conditioner repair costs can add up quickly if you don’t take a few minutes to inspect the unit, or have a professional do it for you!
The cooling fins that surround your condensing unit need to be in perfect order, for the air to flow between them and allow the proper functions of the heat being removed from the refrigerant. Hail can often bound into the side of the air conditioner bending the cooling fins flat, or when large enough, damaging the aluminum or copper tubing system that runs through the coil. The coil needs to be thoroughly inspected to be sure any flattened areas are combed out as well as inspected to be sure the damages were no more than cosmetic.
The Fan Motor and Blades
The fan motor and cooling fan blades are a well-balanced and precisely pitched unit. If a large hail stone hit directly, or even near directly onto the motor or fan blades, it may still run, but long-term damages could occur due to wobbling, or the fan cooling system being out of balance. If one of the fan blades were bent, the unit may not cool properly, or worse, shed the blade when the fan is spinning. This would result in a catastrophic failure of the entire ac unit.
Electrical Lines Connected to Unit
Thermostat wiring and high voltage electrical connects the air conditioner to the home power and indoor thermostat. If a large hail stone hit on the wires, it may have damaged the wire or caused the connection to break free.
Copper Refrigerant Lines and Connections
Even though the copper lines that connect the outdoor air conditioner to the inside coil are somewhat flexible, a sudden jarring blow from a large hail stone could easily rupture the soldered connection and allow the refrigerant to leak out! The cost to recharge a home air conditioner can be hundreds, or even more than a thousand dollars if the ac repairman cannot find the leak in the system!
Package Unit Duct Shields and Connections
Package units connect to the home duct system directly outside the house. If large hail pounds on the shield or the duct connections, it could easily jar the duct system loose from its otherwise tight connection. This area should be inspected for proper fit as well.
Is AC Unit Hail Damage Covered by Insurance
In most cases, air conditioner damages caused by hail are covered under your homeowner insurance! The internet is full of stories about claims adjusters telling homeowners that the damages are only cosmetic and no long-term damages can result from hail. Don’t accept this answer from your insurance company and always spend the time to have your system inspected after a hail storm like we saw in Charlotte.
- Have Your AC System Inspected by a Professional
- If ANY Damages are Found, Call your Insurance Company and File a Claim!
Did You Suffer Hail Damage to Your Air Conditioner?
We love hearing more from our Charlotte neighbors… If your home was in the hail zone and you think you suffered hail damage to your home air conditioner, share the story below!