Your home's air conditioner is probably very durable and meant to last for many years, but the way you maintain the unit can greatly affect that durability. You may be putting some added wear and tear on the unit without realising it, causing it to fail or need repairs sooner than it should. Note a few ways that many homeowners do this so you can avoid these same mistakes and keep your air conditioner in good repair and running efficiently.
The filter and ducts
You probably know that the furnace of the home has a filter, but you may not realise that the air conditioner probably also uses this same filter as it runs. If your home's air conditioner is connected through the furnace, you need to change this filter regularly so that trapped dust and debris doesn't cause the air conditioner to slow down.
If the air conditioner is not connected to the home's ductwork through the furnace, check the front or back of the air conditioning unit itself and ensure you start the summer season with a fresh filter. Otherwise, motor works harder to push air through that dirty filter and it may simply burn out sooner than it should. Be sure you have your home's ducts cleaned regularly for the same reason; pushing air through dirty ducts makes the unit work harder and burn out sooner.
If you have ever added refrigerant to your home's air conditioner, you may have made the mistake of overfilling it, thinking that more refrigerant is somehow better. In truth, this can put pressure on the air conditioning unit. In turn, the air conditioner may simply shut down. Always check the levels recommended by the manufacturer for your unit in particular, and never overfill or overcharge your unit.
Cleaning from the inside
You may know to keep the air conditioning unit clean and free of debris on the outside; this can mean twigs, leaves, grass clippings, and the like. However, rust and other debris can settle onto those fins from the inside and cause the motor to work too hard or overheat. Every year it's good to open the housing from the front or top and ensure that no debris have settled inside the unit, and then also spray down the inside of the fins. If they've rusted, use some lubricating spray and a wire brush to remove rust flecks and spots. This will keep the openings of the fins clear and free of debris.