When it gets hot outside, you likely rely on your air conditioner to keep indoor temperatures comfortable. But with regular use, your air conditioner is likely to succumb to wear and tear that leads to the need for repairs as time goes on. Luckily, there are a few things you can do around the house to increase energy efficiency, so your air conditioner doesn't have to work so hard, and so you can avoid the need for costly repairs. Consider incorporating these compelling ideas:

Make Some Window Updates

An excellent way to reduce wear and tear on your air conditioner and improve its performance overall is to make a few window updates, so they provide better household insulation. Begin by using caulking or spray foam insulation to seal all the leaks and cracks that may be in your frames. Once you have applied your chosen sealant to the frames, let them dry and then lightly sand them to create a smooth surface. Afterward, give your window frames a fresh coat of paint to make them look new again.

You can further improve the insulation performance of your windows by replacing your blinds or curtains with shades. Windows shades offer excellent savings on energy by reducing both heat gain and loss throughout the year, so your AC system doesn't have to face a heavy workload. For optimal efficiency, consider investing in dual shades. They have a reversible design that absorbs heat on one side and reflects heat on the other—they should be reversed as the seasons change to ensure that their reflective sides are facing outward in the summer and inward during the winter.

Make Use of Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans placed throughout your home can decrease the workload of your AC system, and therefore, reduce the risk of a breakdown by maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the year. Using ceiling fans to control household temperatures can save you quite a bit of money on energy, as they use about 60 watts of power per hour compared to an average of 3,500 watts your AC system uses.

Ceiling fans are most helpful when running at night instead of the heater or air conditioner, and during the day as an accompaniment to your HVAC system. Program your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise during the summer months so that the air inside always moves and creates a continual breeze that cools the skin.

In addition to using these tips and tricks, it's a good idea to have your AC repair service technician inspect your air conditioner each year right before summer to ensure that the system is in proper working order and to service all of its components.