Replacing an ac compressor can be fairly expensive. It’s one of the most expensive repairs in the air conditioning world. That’s why the Replace AC Compressor or the Whole Unit debate is such a common question. Sometimes, replacing the whole ac unit is the better option.
Think about it.
Let’s say that you have a big car repair that has to get done for the car to operate properly. A transmission for example. Let’s say that repair is going to cost $1,500 – $2,000. The car is old, has high miles, and is only worth around $3,000 – $4,000 (with a working transmission). Would it be wise to consider buying a newer car, with lower miles and the less likely chance to have any major repairs spring up? I think most people would say yes.
But, what if it’s a newer car that is still under warranty? Then the likely response would be to use the warranty to have the repair performed.
It can be a very similar situation when it comes to replacing an ac compressor compared to replacing the whole unit altogether. Let’s get into some factors to consider.
The Cost to Replace the AC Compressor
The first obvious factor to consider is the cost to replace the ac compressor. Depending on the size of the air conditioner and the speed of the compressor, the cost can be up to $1600 to replace the compressor. This will normally include a 1 year warranty on the compressor as well. Compare this to around an $1800 starting price for a new condenser unit (the outdoor part of the unit) which contains the compressor, fan and condensing coil, plus an included 10 year warranty. A whole new ac unit including a condenser unit and the evaporator unit (indoor part of the unit) starts at around $2800 with a 10 year warranty. A whole new heating and air unit (ac and furnace) starts at around $4000 with a 10 year warranty.
Related: What is an AC Condenser Unit?
How Old is the Air Conditioner?
The typical lifespan of an air conditioner is anywhere from 10-15 years. If the ac compressor goes bad on an older air conditioner (near 10 years old), then it would be wise to replace the whole unit. Why? Well, normally, the closer an air conditioner gets to the 10 year mark, the more likely parts will begin to break down and malfunction. If the compressor is replaced, it’s still likely that other parts will begin to show signs of old age and break down. Along with this factor, also consider the next factor as well…
Related: How to Tell if AC Compressor is Bad
Is the AC Compressor Under Warranty?
With most air conditioner purchases, there is included a warranty (normally 10 years). If the compressor is covered under the manufacturers warranty, then the cost for the compressor would be covered. The labor cost, on the other hand, would not be covered unless the ac unit is fairly new and the labor warranty from the installing contractor is still active. If one or both of these warranties is still active, then replacing the compressor would likely be a good option.
Related: Should I Replace my Air Conditioner?
Are You Satisfied with the Performance of the Air Conditioner?
The last factor I want to mention is the performance of the current air conditioner. The newer air conditioners today are more efficient than the older models. They are cheaper on the energy bill in most cases. So, another perc of upgrading the whole unit would be an improvement in energy efficiency. This would pay dividends over the lifespan of the unit.
Related: Improve your HVAC System’s Energy Efficiency
As we’ve covered this information, I hope that this has helped you gain more of an understanding concerning the “Replace the AC Compressor or Whole Unit” question. Simply weigh the factors above and decide what the best decision is for you in your particular situation. How much is it going to cost you in parts and/or labor? Is it covered under warranty? How old is the air conditioner? Answering these questions should help you come to a decision.
If you live in Jackson TN or the surrounding areas, feel free to give us a call at 731-300-1030. We are a professional HVAC company with over 40 years of experience and we perform both ac replacement services and ac compressor replacement services. Give us a call and we can go over the costs and different options with you!