You may ask yourself: “When will my AC Compressor fail?” When it does, it may be time to think about getting a brand new AC/heat pump unit, not just a replacement compressor.
That said getting it repaired is maybe the correct answer if the unit is under warranty and if it is less than ten years old.
The following AC compressor repair cost guide has our professional recommendations as well as all the details you need for air conditioner repair versus replace situations.
Note: The cost guide for compressors applies to heat pumps as well. The compressors are the same.
AC Compressor Costs and Cost Factors
The compressor is the component that is responsible for circulating refrigerant in your system. The refrigerant picks up the heat inside your home by using the evaporator coil that is often inside or attached to your furnace. The refrigerant cycles outside where it sheds heat in the condenser coil located inside your air conditioner unit. Problems with the compressor equal no cooling or at best very limited cooling.
- 1.5-2.0 ton AC compressor: The average replacement cost is $1,222.50 with costs ranging from $895-$1,500.
- 2.5 ton AC compressor: The average replacement cost is $1,362.50 with costs ranging from $1,035-$1,690.
- 3.0 ton AC compressor: The average replacement cost is $1,555 with costs ranging from $1,205-$1,905.
- 3.5 ton AC compressor: The average replacement cost is $1,755 with costs ranging from $1,350-$2,160.
- 4.0 ton AC compressor: The average replacement cost is $1,972.50 with costs ranging from $1,500-$2,445.
- 5.0 ton AC compressor: The average replacement cost is $2,200 with costs ranging from $1,650-$2,750.
Note: Compressors are sometimes also priced by BTUs of heat they are capable of moving per hour. Each ton equals 12,000 BTUs.
Obviously, the table displays a wide range of costs. Where your AC Compressor or heat pump replacement costs fall depends on the following factors:
- Generic or Brand: Certain AC’s and heat pumps require proprietory brand-specific replacement parts and they are nearly always more expensive than universal or generic parts for the replacement that can be utilized with most AC brands.
- Cost Of Living: The cost of living in your area will have a relative impact on the cost spectrum.
- Type Of Compressor: These are available at three performance levels, known as a single stage, two-stage, and variable-capacity. Your AC will require the same kind of compressor it was originally assembled with. Compressor upgrades are not an option.
- Unit Size: The greater the capacity of the unit, the larger the compressor, and the greater the refrigerant amount to fill it.
- Warranty Coverage: If still under warranty, the compressor will be provided at no cost. You will just have to pay the installation costs.
It takes 4-6 hours to replace an entire unit or compressor. Installation costs are more than just labor. These extras will be factored into the AC compressor replacement estimate:
- The addition of the refrigerant and system resting for the proper charge of refrigerant.
- Disconnecting, disposing and removal of the old compressor.
- A fair profit margin.
- Installing the needed fittings and the compressor.
- The removal of refrigerant remaining from the system and its disposal.
- The overheads for the company including insurance, wages, tools, and equipment.
AC Repair Vs. Replacement
At times it makes more sense to invest your money towards the cost of a new central air conditioner or heat pump instead of repairing it.
We advise the replacement of the entire heat pump or AC if:
- The unit already has a history of repair issues and the unit no longer is under warranty.
- You want to upgrade to a variable capacity or two-stage model for improved control and temperature balance.
- To lower your energy cost, you would prefer a more efficient AC/heat pump.
Compressor Under Warranty: What’s Covered?
Compressors have different warranties ao it is vital to understand the coverage you have. If you do not have info on your warranty, you can contact the manufacturer who will be happy to supply it.
The most common warranties are:
- 5 years: Cheaper Air Conditioners like the Lennox Merit series, a popular base model.
- 10 years: Offered by most leading brands for AC coverage.
- 12 years; Warranties for compressors on certain models from the likes of Trane, American Standard, Maytag as well as some others.
- Lifetime Warranty: Lifetime compressor warranties are offered by some Amana and Goodman lines.
- Unit Replacement Warranties: The majority of warranties just cover the compressor. Tempstar, Heil, Rheem, Ruud, and other ICP brands as well as a few others, offer a complete unit guarantee as well as their compressor warranty. If the compressor fails, the condensing unit )the outdoor unit in its entirety) will be replaced.
Warranties for Labor are separate. If your unit is more than two years old, Labor to repair and replace will probably not be covered under your warranty. We advise against purchasing an extended warranty.
When Labor is not covered you will pay the cost of removal for the old compressor and the installation of the new compressor. This is a factor very worthy of thoughtful consideration when you decide if you want to replace or repair the AC, as we discuss below.