Hail Damaged Air Conditioners & Heat Pumps

Hail can damage air conditioning units and heat pumps when it crashes into the exposed aluminum fins. If the fins are smashed in all the way to the coils, they can be very difficult to “comb out”. A better term to use is “knife out”, meaning each fin has to be attempted to be straightened with a knife, which is a very tedious and time-consuming undertaking. The older the unit, the more likely the fins will tear. If there are multiple smashed fins on a unit, often times the proper remedy is to replace the coil (if available) or the whole unit. An air conditioner may still operate after being damaged; however, its efficiency will be decreased and the likelihood of a refrigerant leak is much greater.

When the fins are dented but not smashed, our NATE-certified technicians carry “combs” which are specifically designed to straighten dented coils. After combing, the appearance of coils is never the same as brand new, even when the dents were slight.

Although more rare, hail can damage coils on the inside of the unit. This happens when the hail was small enough to go through the fan shroud and miss the fan blades. Many homeowners and insurance adjusters fail to notice the damage on the inside of the coil.

The best way to prevent hail damage is to purchase an air conditioning unit or heat pump that has a good coil guard on the unit. Typically, lower efficiency, standard, or builder’s model units do not have coil guards and, therefore, they are susceptible to damage from hail, lawn mowers, week whackers, and toys.