Is it worth spending time repairing an air conditioner compressor?
There is one option where the homeowner might not waste his time figuring out the best way to make the home air conditioner works properly. If your air conditioner is under warranty, a responsible serviceman should fix any failure. Typically, compressor warranty coverage depends on the cost and brand of the air conditioner. The more expensive your unit is, the longer the warranty term. Since warranties vary for compressors, it is important to check what coverage the homeowner has. If you do not know what kind of warranty you have, you can find out this information on the manufacturer's website. Below are typical warranty options:
5-year warranty - short-term coverage from leading manufacturers for low-cost base models.
10-year warranty - typical coverage from most leading manufacturers such as Carrier / Bryant, Lennox, and others.
12-year warranty - American Standard / Trane, Mitsubishi, and Maytag offer a 12-year warranty on select compressors and ten years on other parts.
Lifetime warranty - Goodman, Amana ACs offer some AC models with compressors which has a lifetime warranty.
Unit replacement warranty- if your compressor fails during the warranty period, you will get a replacement for the entire condensing unit, not just the compressor. Heil, Day & Night, Tempstar, Daikin, Rheem, and Ruud ACs come with complete unit replacement guaranties, which range from 2 to 10 years.
High competition among air conditioner manufacturers tended to increase warranty periods most brands' equipment comes with. But most homeowners having such an amazing equipment warranty will likely be faced with charges for labor to replace or repair AC units. Generally, the equipment warranty covers labor to replace failed compressor if the A/C unit is less than 2 years old. Below are the average equipment costs and labor costs to replace a failed compressor.
$610 - $965
$1225 - $1875
$665 - $1010
$1385 - $2050
$820 - $1130
$1560 - $2220
$890 - $1250
$960 - $1270
$1850 - $2520
Important Pricing Factors for AC compressor Replacements
Depending on the stage of the compressor, AC unit size, warranty coverage, and your home's geographic location, your total average cost for an AC compressor could range from as low as $1,150 to as high as $2,650 per unit installed.
Stage of compressor - There are three types of AC compressors. A single-stage compressor is the easiest to manufacture and it has the lowest cost. A two-stage compressor is slightly more expensive rather than a single-stage unit. The third performance level unit is performed with a variable-capacity compressor which costs about $3,400 per unit replaced.
Size of the compressor - The more capacity the unit has, the more refrigerant will be needed to charge it. Since AC compressors range from as low as 18,000 to as high as 60,000 BTU costs of equipment and parts rise with this feature of unit needed. It makes sense to have AC for a split system capacity with 35,000 and 42,000 BTU for a 1,900-2,100 sq. ft. single-family house.
Warranty coverage If you still have a warranty on the AC unit, the cost of a compressor will not be included in the total replacement cost and you will pay for labor only.
Living cost - Installation or replacement costs are often reflecting the local economy including real estate values and the cost of living. A low-cost living area, with relatively low real estate values, makes the cost of local labor for a contractor is low.
AC unit Brand - The downside to the best air conditioner brands such as Carrier, Heil, Lennox, or Trane is their high production cost. You can buy AC equipment of the best brands but if it is not installed properly by a qualified HVAC specialist that AC system will likely fail.
Replacing a malfunctioning compressor should take 3-5 hours. Below is a shortlist of factors that are involved in the AC compressor replacement cost.
removing any remaining refrigerant from the evaporator coil
removal and disposal of an old compressor
new AC compressor installation plus additional fittings and refrigerant charge