Reducing AC Maintenance
To prevent wear and tear to your AC unit, you need to do whatever you can to improve the function of your AC unit. Improving the function of your AC unit comes down to two main things: first, preventing your house from heating up in the first place, and second, boosting the function of your AC unit. The good news is that you don't need to specialize in thermodynamics in order to do either task.
Reducing Heat Gain
Heat gain is a measure of how much your home heats up during the day. While having a lot of people in your home or doing a lot of baking can quickly heat up your home, the biggest culprit just may be your windows. In fact, experts estimate that up to 30% of your daily heat gain enters through your windows. Installing double- or triple-pane windows won't necessarily help with heat gain because the sun's rays will pass through three panes of glass just as easily as one pane. In order to reduce heat gain, you need to find a way to filter out the sun's UV rays without blocking out sunlight altogether. Reflective or low-e window film will filter out the sun's UV rays and thus reduce your cooling costs by up to 23% while still allowing you to have an unobstructed view of the outside world. Here, it is important to note that you have lower cooling costs because you are running your AC less, which means the unit is incurring less wear and tear.
Improving Condenser Function
The condenser unit located outside your house depends on airflow in order to function properly. This means that if you have plants growing too close, they can obstruct airflow and cause your AC unit to have to work longer and harder than it should have to in order to cool the refrigerant flowing through it. This is true whether the plants in question be grass, flowers, bushes, trees, or plant debris. Thus, in order to make sure you don't pay too much to cool your house or put undue strain on your unit, you should keep plants back at least a couple of feet and clean away leaves and debris whenever it appears necessary.
Proper AC maintenance and optimization are the keys to lower repair costs down the road. While you might have to spend a little bit of money on window film and a little bit of time on pruning back plants, your efforts will be well rewarded with lower repair and maintenance costs down the road.