In addition to keeping your entire home cool all summer long, central air conditioning is also more energy-efficient than you might realize and will help keep humidity at a more comfortable level. When installed and cared for properly, the average central air conditioning unit will last around 16 years, according to Frigidaire. Without even knowing it, you could be making simple mistakes that will drastically reduce the lifespan of your central air conditioner. Here are a few common central air conditioner mistakes that homeowners make—and how to avoid them:

Installing the Unit in the Wrong Spot

The large central air conditioning unit that you typically see installed outside a home houses the heat pump and condenser. These components are responsible for pulling surrounding air into the unit that is later cooled, pressurized, and distributed throughout your home.

To work successfully, the condenser needs a readily available source of air. Many homeowners mistakenly believe that if they place the condenser and heat pump in their basement or attic, the more consistent temperatures will make the air conditioner run more efficiently.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case, and if you put the condenser and heat pump inside your home, it will make the air conditioner less efficient. This is because there is less air for the condenser to draw into the unit, and, because the unit itself produces heat, it will raise the temperature throughout your home.

Instead, ask a qualified professional to install the large condenser and evaporator in a spot near your home that is protected from direct sunlight. Also, avoid planting any heavy vegetation near the condenser. This will only restrict airflow, which will render your air conditioner less efficient.

Depending Too Much on The Central Air

Your central air conditioning unit will help ensure that your whole family remains cool and comfortable all summer long. However, depending on your air conditioner as your only source of cool, circulated air is a big mistake.

In addition to placing too much strain on the unit, utilizing your central air system constantly throughout the summer will result in very high energy bills. Instead, take advantage of a few additional ways to circulate the cool air produced by the unit throughout your home.

Installing ceiling fans throughout your home is the most efficient and stylish way to take the burden off your central air conditioning unit. Even small things like opening the windows on a cool night and installing extra vents in your attic will help ensure that your central air conditioner is given a much-needed break in the summer.

Skipping That Yearly Inspection

Finally, one of the most critical errors that several homemakers make when it comes to their central air conditioner is not hiring a professional to inspect the entire system each year. The best time to schedule this service is right before the summer. This is the period when you will rely on your air conditioner the most, and having a professional inspect the unit before the temperatures rise will help ensure you remain cool and comfortable.

During this preventative inspection, the professional HVAC technician will examine the entire unit, both inside and outside. The inspector will check for any wear and damage on all the system's components and replace any parts that are in danger of failing.

Additionally, the technician will check the coolant level and refill it, if necessary. It's important for your own safety and the safety of the unit that you allow a professional to refill the coolant.

Maintaining your central air conditioner correctly will help ensure you and your family remain comfortable for several years to come. If you have any questions about how to properly care for your central air, don't hesitate to contact a professional.