How Much Does A Central AC Compressor Replacement Cost? (Complete Guide)

Central AC Compressor Replacement Cost

Air conditioning systems are generally considered to be absolute saviors when the hotter months roll around. With temperatures rising in number every year, it is almost impossible to spend a summer without the company of your beloved AC.

In the present market, air conditioners have never been easier to purchase- what with the countless installation types, sizes, features, energy-saving capacities, and so on. 

However, if you are an experienced homeowner who has already lived with an AC of your own, you probably know that the real hero behind giving you the refreshing coolness you so desire during the summer is: Compressor.

The Compressor practically runs the entire cooling system of your unit- as it is the component that produces cool air in the first place. Undoubtedly, then, this is one of the most important parts of your system, and any failure on its part might lead to the failure of the whole unit.

In fact, a malfunctioning compressor is one of the top listed reasons for a problematic AC. Now, your chances of having to face a failing compressor are more likely as your AC gets older. The compressor is situated in the outdoor part of your AC.

Most guides suggest that it might be time for getting a brand new AC altogether if you are facing problems with your compressor. However, you can also consider the option of replacement and repairs if you’re not too hot about dropping a bunch of money on a new AC.

How Much Does A Central AC Compressor Replacement Cost?

There’s a lot of information online predicting how much you might have to spend replacing your AC’s compressor. You can also always seek the advice of your local HVAC technician on the matter.

On average, an AC compressor replacement might cost about $600 to $1,200 when covered by a warranty. However, if your unit is not under warranty, you can expect costs around $1,300 to $2,500

Additionally, you will also have to keep in mind that your HVAC contractor/technician may charge by the hour, and this might cost around $100-$150 depending on your area prices. You will also have to reimburse them for any replacement parts they bring.

Also, keep in mind that you might have to replace your entire AC unit altogether. Such a job can take up to 5 hours, and contractors can charge as much as $6000 for the job.

Clearly, replacement costs are lesser than having to uproot your entire Air Conditioning system. However, if you’ve been using your AC for long enough, you might not be able to avoid full AC replacement.

AC compressor replacement/repair: Should you do it?

If you’re not sure whether your AC compressor needs a replacement or not, there are certain signs and indicators you can check for.

For instance, if your AC is constantly getting on-and-off cooling, slowed operation, noises, refrigerant leaks, etc- you might want to check up on your compressor and possibly call up a professional to take a look.

Another indicator is an aging compressor. Most AC compressors can last between 10 to 15 years, while the AC unit as a whole can go on to work for up to 20 years with a replacement compressor.

If you notice that your compressor is nearing the end of its life, it’s time to look for a replacement. This may, of course, differ depending on the maintenance and quality of the compressor, along with factors like over-usage or underuse of the AC.

AC compressor Costs By Capacity

AC compressors are priced by capacity. The higher the capacity, the costlier the compressor. You can also refer to their BTU sizes to get an estimate of how pricey your compressor can be.

For instance, a compressor ranging between 1.5-2 tons can cost you around $890-$1,500 totally including the cost of the parts as well as installation.

Usually, a 1.5 or 2-ton capacity compressor is one of the lowest and cheapest models in the market. From there, we move up to a 2.5-ton compressor, which can be within a price range of $500-$980 in terms of parts and can amount to $1,040-$1,700 with installation costs.

A 3.0-ton compressor, with parts costs and installation costs, adds up to $1,200-$1,900, while a 3.5-ton model is placed between $1,350-$2,170.You can expect to pay up to $2,500 for a 4-ton compressor, and up to 2,750 for a 5.0-ton model.

As you can see, compressor replacement costs across different models vary widely. However, the size/capacity isn’t the only thing influencing your AC compressor prices.

Factors influencing AC Compressor Costs

Your AC compressor replacement costs can depend on the following factors:

Warranty

If your AC compressor still falls under an active Warranty plan, you are in luck. Under warranty coverage, you can expect the compressor parts costs to be covered by the company itself.

However, a compressor warranty usually only covers parts and not labor. In such cases, you only have to pay for installation, but you’ll be spending an overall reduced amount of money.

Size

As you know, one of the main determining factors of AC compressor price is the size of the compressor. For this, you can refer to the BTUs it produces or its capacity in tons. As a general rule, the larger the unit, the higher the compressor cost.

Compressor Type

Another thing to keep in mind is your ACs compressor type. Usually, every AC unit has a prescribed compressor model that cannot be changed later on in the future. Compressor models are of three types- single-stage, two-stage, and variable speed compressors.

Thus, if your AC was manufactured with a single-stage compressor, you can only replace it with another single-stage model. In terms of price, two-stage and variable models tend to be more expensive as well as efficient as compared to single-stage models.

Brand

As with most ACs themselves, the compressor brand plays a big part in deciding the replacement costs of your compressor. You’ll find many options on the market from various brands that cater to consumers by providing budget-friendly options.

You’ll also come across universal replacement parts that can be compatible with many AC brands and also cost less.

However, sometimes you might have to purchase a compressor of the same brand as your AC, and this can be costlier. This is usually the norm for Central AC systems.

Refrigerant refill cost

Refrigerant refilling is part of your compressor replacement process, and you will also have to take those costs into consideration, which might vary depending on the refrigerant types. You can expect to pay around $100 to $600 for this process.

Other factors

Some other factors that change how much your AC compressor replacement might cost are more economical in nature. For instance, the cost of living can direct the replacement prices,i.e, if you live in a city (cheap or expensive) it’ll affect the overall price.

Another deciding factor is climate. AC compressors are more likely to go haywire and to be reported during the spring and summer months.

Coincidentally, HVAC professionals get super-busy handling these cases and charge more as well. If you want to fix up your AC on a budget, you’re better off seeking help during the winter months, or towards the start of the year.

AC Compressor Repairs

We’ve talked plenty about the why’s and how’s of replacing your AC compressor parts. However, it isn’t always necessary that you have to go directly for replacement in the face of the smallest problem that arises.

You can also consider repairing the compressor and reusing the same. This is typically the more affordable and feasible option.

Keep in mind that repairs don’t apply to everything, i.e, there are certain problems you can target through repairs, and others that absolutely require replacement.

Blockage

Consider that your compressor may be displaying faulty functioning because there is some blockage or obstruction in the way. Dust, debris, and other particles are commonly known to get in the way of a well-oiled AC unit. In this situation, you can call in a professional to see what is blocking your compressor.

Noise

As you know, compressor noise is not a good sign. You immediately want to call a technician and see if there is any need for repair if you hear your compressor’s noise levels skyrocketing.

Air Filters

Another area that might need to be held responsible for a problematic compressor is the air filter. If your air filters are dusty or filled with the debris of any sort, they might be slowing down your compressor and affecting its performance adversely.

Conclusion

Replacing or repairing your AC compressor can be a long-overdue process, and sometimes we realize the need for it too late. When identified at the right time, the compressor problem can be tackled effectively through efficient replacement and/or repairs.

However, a compressor repair is not always possible, and sometimes it might be more sensible to turn towards replacing your AC unit altogether.

In cases where your home requires a compressor upgrade to a stronger model, or if your warranty is no longer applicable- you’ll find it more favorable to get a new AC altogether.

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