Home AC Compressor Replacement in Phoenix, AZ

FAQs on Replacing Your Home's A/C Compressor

On this page:

 

  1. How much does it cost to replace a home's A/C compressor?
  2. What is a compressor (and why is it so expensive)?
  3. Why does the price to replace a home's A/C compressor vary?
  4. Should I just purchase a new air conditioner instead of replacing the compressor?

 

1.) How much does it cost to replace a home A/C compressor?

 

The price varies. But replacing a home A/C compressor usually costs anywhere from $1,495 to $3,495.

Low:
$1,495
Average:
$2,495
High:
$3,495+

 

 

2) What is a compressor (and why is it so expensive)?

 

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. 

What is a a central A/C compressor?

 

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?".

 

3.) Why does the price to replace a home's A/C compressor vary?

 

The price for compressor replacement varies depending on these factors:

  1. The size of your A/C
  2. The type of compressor
  3. Warranty

 

  • Cost factor #1: The size of your A/C

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:

  1. Head to your condenser (i.e. the "outdoor" unit) and look for an information label on the side of the unit.
  2. Locate your A/C model number (this should be at the top of the label and will be a long string of numbers and letters).
  3. Find a number that's divisible by 12 (i.e. 18, 24, 32, etc.). This number will be somewhere within the string of numbers/letters that is your model number. 
  4. Divide that number by 12 and the answer is the tonnage of your unit.

Example:

How to determine AC compressor size

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.

  • Cost factor #2: The type of compressor

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:

  • Single-stage compressors: offer one level of cooling—HIGH
  • Two-stage compressors: offer 2 levels of cooling—HIGH and LOW
  • Variable speed compressors: offer unlimited levels of cooling based on what's needed at the time

*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:

  1. Precise, steady cooling (no hot/cold spots)
  2. Excellent dehumidification 
  3. Lower energy bills

The only downside to a variable-speed? The higher cost.

  • Cost factor #3: Warranty

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:

  1. Look for the details of your coverage in your A/C owner's manual.
  2. Look up the make/model number of your A/C online and search for warranty details.
  3. Contact the contractor who initially installed your A/C unit.

 

4) Should I just purchase a new air conditioner instead of replacing the compressor?

 

That depends on a combination of factors:

  • How old is the A/C? If it's 14+ years old, then consider replacing the entire A/C system since that's the typical lifespan of a central air conditioner.
  • Is your manufacturer warranty still valid? If it is, then it makes more sense to replace the compressor as it will be much more affordable compared to getting a new A/C. Of course, balance this factor with the age of your A/C.
  • How long are you going to stay in your home? If you're moving out in a few years, then you may not want to invest in a brand new A/C. Therefore, it makes sense to consider replacing the A/C compressor instead. However, some may consider a brand new A/C an excellent selling feature. So weigh your options carefully.

 

See A/C installation details