Because an AC unit is mechanical in nature, it has a lot of moving parts that can wear out over time. The harder your system has to run, the more you have to worry about your system wearing out as time goes by. In order to keep your system running at the optimum level and to save money on repair costs, you need to take steps to reduce the load on your system. 

Thermostat Settings

When you turn your thermostat down, your system does not pump colder air into your home—at least not right away. In fact, an AC unit can only reduce the temperature of the air flowing through it by a certain amount at a time. If your AC unit is already struggling to offset heat gain, then turning the thermostat down only means that your unit will have to run longer and harder to achieve the new setting. On the other hand, if you turn your thermostat up by seven degrees while you are away from the home during the day, you can save up to 10% on your cooling costs. 

Install Window Film

Turning up your thermostat will not help to keep your home cool, but taking steps to prevent your home from heating up in the first place will. The UV rays streaming through your windows are one huge source of heat gain. Experts estimate that windows account for at least 30% of the heat gain in your home. By filtering out UV rays, low-e window film will help to keep your home cool and reduce the load on your AC unit. The right film can reduce operating costs by up to 23%

Decrease Air Temperatures by Planting Trees

An AC unit's condenser coils cool the refrigerant running through them by using a fan to push the outside air over fins that hold the refrigerant. The hotter the outside air is, the harder it is to push heat into that air. Trees will reduce air temperatures by as much as 25% through a process known as evapotranspiration. For the best results, you should plant a few trees around your condenser coils to make sure you have a large volume of cool air available. By shading your home and improving the function of condenser coils, trees can reduce cooling costs by as much as 30%

The above suggestions should illustrate that the best way to reduce the load on your AC unit is to use a many-pronged approach. Don't just reduce heat gain when you can also optimize the function of your condenser coils. The money you spend on window film and trees will translate to monthly savings on cooling costs, but they will also reduce wear and tear and thus reduce the need for maintenance and repairs. In other words, you stand to save more money than you spend.