While there's nothing you can do to guarantee your air conditioner or furnace will never need repairs, there are ways to take better care of your system. Changing out the air filters every 3-6 months, making sure nothing is obstructing or interfering with the outside unit, and keeping all vents unblocked in well-used rooms will help keep your air conditioning and heating system operating efficiently.
In a thermodynamically closed system, any power dissipated into the system that is being maintained at a set temperature (which is a standard mode of operation for modern air conditioners) requires that the rate of energy removal by the air conditioner increase. This increase has the effect that, for each unit of energy input into the system (say to power a light bulb in the closed system), the air conditioner removes that energy. To do so, the air conditioner must increase its power consumption by the inverse of its "efficiency" (coefficient of performance) times the amount of power dissipated into the system. As an example, assume that inside the closed system a 100 W heating element is activated, and the air conditioner has a coefficient of performance of 200%. The air conditioner's power consumption will increase by 50 W to compensate for this, thus making the 100 W heating element cost a total of 150 W of power.
Most modern air-conditioning systems feature a dehumidification cycle during which the compressor runs while the fan is slowed as much as possible to reduce the evaporator temperature and therefore condense more water. When the temperature falls below a threshold, both the fan and compressor are shut off to mitigate further temperature drops;[clarification needed] this prevents moisture on the evaporator from being blown back into the room. When the temperature rises again,[clarification needed] the compressor restarts and the fan returns to low speed.
An air conditioner's compressor contains a refrigerant. As it works, it sends this refrigerant through the system. As warm air blows across the coil that carries this refrigerant, the heat transfers to the refrigerant (cool always absorbs warm). A fan moves the cooled air through the ducting and out of vents that lead into the rooms of your house. The refrigerant returns to the compressor where the absorbed heat is moved outside. The refrigerant is then sent through the coil once again to continue the cycle.