This air conditioner repair cost guide will give you a clear idea of how much a repair will cost before you call an HVAC professional. Specific issues covered are:
If you decide it is time to replace your unit, our Central Air Conditioner Buyer’s Guide is a comprehensive resource for knowing how to make a buying decision that is right for your home and lifestyle.
We’ve also prepared comprehensive buying guides for today’s top AC brands including Lennox, Carrier, Bryant, Trane, Amana and Goodman. They will help you compare models, quality and central air conditioner costs.
Troubleshooting AC Problems
This topic is so important that we’ve created an entire guide to trouble shooting central air conditioner problems. The guide will help you determine what is wrong with your unit and whether it is a DIY repair issue or you’ll need an AC professional to make the repair.
Perhaps that’s a good place to start before returning here to learn more about cost for the repair and whether the unit should be repaired or replaced.
Common Problems and Repair Costs List
Here are the repair issues common to central air conditioners with a brief explanation and cost for each.
|Service Call – We might as well start here, since any repair done by a professional HVAC technician will require a visit to your home. The service call represents a minimum charge, and the cost of it typically goes toward the repair rather than being a separate charge. It’s a good idea to ask about this fee and whether it is waived if the repair cost is higher before the technician comes to your home.||Per Call||
|Thermostat/Control Replacement – Occasionally a thermostat will fail, but more often, homeowners replace the thermostat because they want to upgrade its performance to a programmable or Wi-Fi model. The quality and performance of the control is the major factor in cost.||1 hr||
|Circuit Breakers, Fuses and Relays Replacement: – Age and overheating are the major culprits in these parts wearing out or quickly burning out.||1 hr||
|AC Capacitor and Contactor Replacement: – Age and overheating are the issues here too.||1 hr||
|AC Circuit Boards Replacement: – Your HVAC system has PCBs in the condensing unit and in the furnace or air handler. They typically fail with age, a power surge or because they’re defective.||1 hr||
|Repairing an AC Refrigerant Leak: – Minor repairs at the condensing unit, such as replacing a fitting, are cheap; when the line set must be replaced, the repair can be expensive due to additional time and materials required.||2-3 hrs||
|AC Refrigerant Recharging: – Once the repair is made, the system must be recharged. The size of the system and the length of the refrigerant line set are the key factors in how much refrigerant the system needs, and that affects cost.||1-2 hrs||
|AC Condensing Unit Fan Motor Replacement: – Bearing failure and overheating are the major causes of this repair that can be costly.||2 hrs||
|AC Compressor Replacement: – Most central air conditioners have 10-year compressor warranties. Amana and Goodman offer lifetime compressor warranties. If the compressor is not under warranty, replacing the entire unit might be a more cost-effective way to spend the money. See the section below that covers AC repair vs. replacement.||1-3 hrs||
|Outdoor or Indoor AC Coil Replacement: – This is another catastrophic mechanical failure that often means a new system would be money better spent. The best way to avoid this costly repair is to keep your coils cleaned with DIY cleaning or a maintenance plan with your HVAC pro.||1-3 hrs||
|AC/Furnace Drain Clearing and Flush: – The indoor AC coil in your furnace or air handler condenses moisture out of the air to make the air more comfortable. If the condensate drain gets clogged with sludge or mold, you’ll see water puddling nearby.||1-2 hrs||
|AC Condensate Pump Replacement: – Some furnaces/air handlers have pumps to handle the condensate rather than a gravity drain. They burn out through age or when the line is clogged.||1-2 hrs||
|Drain Pan Replacement: – Drain pans occasionally crack or rust through and must be replaced. The pan is cheap, but the repair takes several hours, so labor cost is high.||1-2 hrs||
What to Do About Lower and Higher Cost Estimates
If the estimate you receive is significantly lower than what you expect from our list, there are several questions that should be asked of the technician:
- Are you certified, licensed and insured? This question is better asked on the phone before you invite them to your home, and if they’re not qualified, call someone else or use our Free Quote system from prescreened, fully qualified repair professionals.
- Are these new parts, and do they meet the air conditioner manufacturer’s specifications for quality replacement parts?
- Do the parts and labor come with a warranty, and how long is it? Both should be at least 12 months.
When costs are much higher than what we’ve quoted, then it might be worth paying the service fee and telling the technician you’ll be getting a second estimate from another pro. The technician might lower the cost estimate to be more competitive. There’s no reason not to negotiate on price if the technician has the authority and willingness to do so.
Are HVAC Maintenance Plans a Waste of Money?
Most heating and air conditioning companies now offer several HVAC maintenance plans that provide service to your system once or twice per year. Costlier plans include priority repairs during peak seasons, a discount on repairs and 24-hour emergency service. The more services are offered in the plan, the more it will cost.
Are HVAC service contracts a good idea? While many are overpriced and a waste of money, a heating and air conditioning contract can be worth the cost if:
- Your HVAC system or any of its components are 10 years old or older
- You intend to live in your current home long-term and wish to keep the system in excellent condition
- You realize your system is losing efficiency and needs to be cleaned and tuned because your energy bills are going up despite weather not being more extreme or the cost of energy rising
- The plan offers 24-hour emergency service, and weather can be extreme where you live
Shop around before buying. Review maintenance plans from several HVAC contractors, and read the fine print regarding what is covered and what isn’t. Only work with contractors with a reputation for honesty and dependability. When comparing plan costs, ask the price of an HVAC tune-up without the plan. If the plan is more expensive, then simply paying the cost without signing up for a maintenance plan makes sense for newer systems because you’re less likely to need the discount for repairs that comes with the maintenance plan.
Knowing Whether to Repair or Replace Your AC
Some suggest something simple like multiplying the cost of the repair by the age of the central air conditioner, and if the number is greater than 5,000, replace it. For example, if you AC is 10 years old and needs a $600 circuit board replaced (10 x 600 = 6,000), then replace the entire unit.
While those equations can be helpful, we believe there is more to it. These AC repair vs. replace tips will provide additional guidance:
- The longer you plan to stay in your home, the more it makes sense to replace the unit; if you’re moving soon, make the repair, and you might want to offer buyers a 1-year home warranty for their peace of mind
- If you want lower energy bills or are committed to ecofriendly cooling, then replacing an old unit in favor of a much more efficient central air conditioner is the right choice and an opportunity to reduce your energy footprint by 50 percent or more
- If the unit has already had two repair issues over $500, then replacing it on the “third strike” is a good idea unless you’ll planning to move soon
- The older the central air conditioner is, the more cost-effective it is to replace it, especially if you have no plans to move
The Importance of Choosing an Experienced Repair Contractor
The expertise and skill of the person repairing your air conditioner is the most important factor in how long the repair will last. It’s important that you find the best repair technician you can, and as you know, it’s not always the company with the largest marketing budget for TV and radio ads.
The problem, however, is that when your AC isn’t working, its 90+ degrees outside and your home is heating up, you won’t want to take several days to research the best companies and contact them by phone, hoping they’ll get back to you quickly. A faster way to get estimates from some of the best central air conditioning repair technicians in your area is to use the Free Local Quote service on this page. The contractors are prescreened for quality and experience, and they are licensed and insured for your protection. When you fill out the quick and convenient form, you’ll soon be contacted to set up an appointment. There is no obligation to you when you use the service.
Submitted AC/Heat Pump Repair Cost By Visitors
Repair or Parts
|Trane XR13 Blower Motor||Houston, TX||
|Goodman ECM Blower Motor||Los Angeles, CA||
|Lennox XC13 Circuit Board Replacement||Chicago, IL||
|Goodman Fan Limit Switch||New York||
|Trane XR12 Evaporator Coil||Dallas, TX||
|Heil Coil Drain Pan||Philadelphia||
|Payne TXV||Atlanta, GA||
|Trane XE1000 Pressure Switch||Washington||
|Trane XR15 Capacitor||Charlotte, NC||
|Rheem Single Stage Compressor||Orlando, FL||
|Ruud Condenser Coils||San Jose, CA||
|Bryant Contactor Replacement||San Diego, CA||
|Amana Lineset Replacement||Miami, FL||
|York Reversing Valve||Phoenix, AZ||
|Trane XE1200 Condensate Drain Replacement||San Antonio, TX||
|Armstrong R22 Refrigerant Recharging||San Francisco, CA||
|Carrier Comfort Series Evaporator Coil||Seattle, WA||
|Lennox Compressor Replacement||Canada||
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