Can Heat & Sunlight Damage My HVAC System?

June 30, 2023


For those of us who experience hot, steamy summers, air conditioning is a godsend. Without AC, many of us would be much warmer, sweatier, and let’s face it—crankier! But if heat and sunlight can affect us, what can it do to our HVAC systems? Great question! And it’s one that our HVAC service company gets asked quite often.

Since our customers are often curious about the effects of heat and sunlight on their HVAC units, we decided to explain how Mother Nature can sometimes cause problems and increase the need for AC repair (if not taken care of). Here are a few things to keep in mind as the New Jersey weather gets warmer.

How to Prevent Heat-Related HVAC Damage

While your HVAC system is made to be durable, homeowners know that nothing is impenetrable. Still, there are ways to keep your HVAC system in top condition and prevent the summer heat from damaging it. Here are a few ideas.

Don’t Place Thermostats in Direct Sunlight

If your thermostat is placed in direct sunlight, it can give an inaccurate reading of your indoor temperature. If the sun is constantly shining onto your thermostat, your indoor reading will rise and confuse your HVAC system into thinking it needs to cool your home down. This will cause the system to cycle on and off repeatedly, leading to inefficient cooling and higher energy bills.

In addition, direct sunlight can also damage the plastic components of the thermostat. This could cause trouble reading the temperature and cause you to lose control of your thermostat altogether! Solution? Always place your thermostat on an interior wall away from doors, windows, and direct sunlight.

Shade the Outside Unit

If your outside unit stands alone and is in the path of direct sunlight, you might consider shading it with some landscaping shade. Fortunately, in New Jersey, the heat isn’t quite as damaging to a system as in hotter areas such as Florida or Las Vegas. Still, excessive heat and sunlight can make your unit think it is hotter than it truly is and cause it to run less efficiently.

Landscaping shade helps protect your outdoor unit on the summer days when the heat is unbearable. Naturally, there are important things to remember when shading your outdoor system. As you plant, remember that your unit still needs to breathe. So plant “lightly” around your system, giving at least three feet of space around the perimeter. Don’t overdo it with too many shrubs. Less is probably more!

Change Air Filters

OK, heat and sunlight don’t directly affect your air filters. However, when it’s hot outside, your system runs regularly to cool your home. And if those air filters are dirty, your system works harder than it needs to. So, remember to change air filters every three to four months for optimal performance and system efficiency and to help prevent the premature need for AC repair.

Is Your HVAC Ready for Summer Gatherings?

Now that you know to protect your HVAC system from excessive sunlight and heat, don’t forgot to schedule your routine HVAC service. Regular maintenance is the key to system efficiency and a great idea if you have plans for picnics and summer barbecues this summer. After all, you don’t want guests getting cranky if they need to cool off indoors only to find out your AC isn’t working.

A.J. Perri is always just a phone call away when you need HVAC service, air conditioning installation, AC repair, and more! Call 732.733.2548 to schedule your appointment or click here to do it online.

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Last Updated: May 24, 2024