The price varies. But replacing a home A/C compressor usually costs anywhere from $1,495 to $3,495.
A central A/C compressor sits inside the condenser (the unit that's located outside your home). This special component is basically the “heart” of your entire A/C system.
Just like a heart pumps blood throughout the body, your compressor pumps “refrigerant”, a special fluid that absorbs heat from the air, throughout the A/C system. Simply put, without a compressor, your A/C can't cool your home.
And because your compressor is such an integral part of the A/C system, it can be pretty costly to replace one.
To learn more about how a compressor works, check out our blog, "What Is a Central A/C Compressor?".
The price for compressor replacement varies depending on these factors:
How this affects price: The "larger" your air conditioner, the more expensive the compressor.
Central air conditioners are sized according to their "tonnage". Tonnage refers to how much cooling the unit can provide in one hour. Simply put: the higher the tonnage, the "larger" the A/C and the more expensive your compressor replacement will be.
Residential A/C units range anywhere from 1 to 5 tons with half sizes included (i.e. 2.5 tons). While there are many factors that determine the size A/C you have, the basic rule of thumb is that the larger the square footage of your home, the larger A/C size you have.
Don't know the size of your A/C unit? Just follow these steps:
Note: This method may not work for all A/C models. If you can't find this information label or don't see a number divisible by 12, you'll need to contact a professional to determine what size AC you have.
How this affects price: The more "stages" a compressor has, the more expensive your compressor replacement will be. But keep in mind that a compressor with more stages offers lower monthly cooling bills.
In Arizona, there are basically 3 types of compressors available:
*Compressors listed in order from least expensive to most expensive.
Here's the bottom line: In Arizona, where summer temperatures are extreme, a variable speed compressor is the best option. Hands down.
Why? Well, variable speed compressors work much like a car's gas pedal—they can speed up or down depending on the exact amount of cooling your home needs at any given time. They can run at less than 100% capacity—sometimes as low as 25% capacity.
For example, on slightly cooler summer days, a variable speed compressor might need a very minimal amount of energy to run at 30% capacity all day. And running all day on so low a cooling level means:
The only downside to a variable-speed? The higher cost.
How this affects price: If your A/C manufacturer warranty still covers the compressor, that will lower the cost of replacing it significantly.
The good news? Most manufacturers offer separate warranties that cover just the compressor. Under these warranties, compressors may be protected anywhere from 5-15 years to the length of their lifetime. Note: Even if your compressor is still covered under the manufacturer's warranty, you may still need to pay labor costs for the replacement.
Not sure if your compressor is still under warranty or not? Three ways to find out include:
That depends on a combination of factors: