The heating and cooling system in your home will run for years without incident if you are taking precautions to maintain its efficiency. When you are making the overall system run harder just to maintain a desired room temperature, you are not only increasing your utility costs, you are going to be reducing the life of the system as well.
The littlest things can have the biggest impact on the way your home heating and cooling system runs. The air filter is perhaps the least expensive part of the unit, but it can be one of the most damaging if not maintained on a regular basis. A dirty air filter reduces air flow, and makes the overall system have to work harder to keep the temperature consistent.
The exterior fan unit helps to circulate the air and lessen the load on the air handler. The problem with most homes is this outside unit is often neglected to the point that it causes the rest of the system to have to work harder at moving air. The best thing you can do is remove all things blocking the flow of air, from overgrown hedges, tall grass, low low-hanging branches. Then open the unit and remove things like leaves and twigs from inside that might be interrupting the fans from spinning.
The air handler inside your how must be running smoothly to ensure it lasts longer. To reduce the wear and tear, be sure to listen closely for any noises like squeaking or squealing that a little lubricant can fix. Run your fingers over the seams of the casing to see if any air might be escaping while the unit is powered on. If so, place a small strip of duct tape over that area and the air will be unable to escape the handler any longer.
Perhaps the best thing you can do to maintain the HVAC system is calling in the help of the experts. The local HVAC service team will perform an inspection a few times a year to ensure the unit is operating perfectly during the changes in seasons. As the unit switches from cooling to heating, you want to be sure everything is working well in advance of inclement weather causing you to be suffering unnecessarily.
Maintaining your home HVAC system improves energy efficiency and will allow you to get the most of the unit for many years to come.