Many individuals wonder why an air conditioning compressor costs so much money or even what it is. In essence, the compressor of your AC unit is the heart of the system heating up the refrigerant in preparation for it to be cooled later on in the machine's process.
The average cost to replace an AC compressor in Pittsburgh ranges from $1,000 to $3,000.
We know... it's expensive. And we know you probably have questions, like:
- Why does it cost so much?
- Why does the price range vary?
- Should I just replace my whole system?
Below, we’ll answer these questions so you can make an informed decision about purchasing a new AC compressor.
Want to skip right replacing your AC compressor? Our team of highly-trained pros can install a new AC compressor for you in no time.
What is an AC compressor & why is it so expensive?
An AC compressor is located in the outdoor unit of your AC system. Its job is to pump refrigerant (the substance that takes the heat out of your home) through your AC system. Without an AC compressor, your AC system can’t cool your home.
AC compressors are expensive for the following reasons:
1. The time it takes to install
Because of where it’s located, AC compressors can take 4–5 hours to replace. This time frame, along with the complexity of replacing an AC compressor, means that replacing an AC compressor is a more costly service.
2. Importance of the part
As we mentioned above, without your AC compressor, your AC won’t work. Because it’s such an integral part of your AC system, the part itself is expensive.
3. Can’t be repaired
Unfortunately, AC compressors can’t be repaired “in the field.” They have to be sent back to the manufacturer, which will leave you without a working AC for a few weeks. In most cases, it's easier to just replace a compressor rather than repair it.
Why does the price range vary?
If you end up needing to replace your compressor, the cost to install a new one can vary depending on the following factors:
Factor #1: Size of your AC—The bigger your AC is, the more the compressor will cost. The size of your AC is determined by tonnage or the amount of heat your AC can draw out of your home in an hour. The “larger” your AC is (1–5 tons), the larger the compressor you’ll need and the more it will cost.
Factor #2: Type of compressor—The price of the compressor will vary depending on if it’s a sing-stage compressor, two-stage compressor or variable-speed compressor. A single-stage compressor will be the least expensive and a variable-speed compressor will be the most expensive. Variable-speed compressors cost the most, but are the most efficient and can provide even cooling and lower monthly energy bills.
Factor #3: The technician you hire—The more experienced a technician is, the more they usually charge for service.
Factor #4: Whether or not it’s under warranty—Your AC compressor may be covered under your AC parts warranty. You can check this by going to the AC manufacturer's website and searching for your AC serial/model number. You can find your AC’s serial and model number on one of the panels of the outdoor unit.
Note: If you haven’t had your AC maintained annually by a professional, your parts warranty is likely void. Your parts warranty may also be void if you:
- Didn’t register your warranty within 90 days of installation
- Didn’t keep records of maintenance or repairs
- Used off-brand replacement parts
Should I replace my AC compressor or my entire AC system?
If you’re going to spend $3,000 repairing just one part of your AC system, the next question is, should I just replace my whole system instead?
If your AC is new (1–3 years old) the compressor is likely covered under your warranty. Our recommendation would be to just replace the compressor.
If your AC is middle-aged (3–10 years) your warranty may not cover the compressor. If you’re dealing with other issues (your AC is not cooling your home, you’re paying for repairs, etc.) then you should probably consider purchasing a new AC system rather than just replacing the compressor.
If your AC is 10+ years old, you should replace your whole system. AC systems are designed to last anywhere from 10-15 years. You don’t want to invest a large amount of money to replace the compressor when you’ll have to turn around and replace your whole system a few years later.
Ready to have working AC again? Hire the Pittsburgh Pros, Calfo!
Whether you need to replace your AC compressor or your entire AC system, our team of experienced pros is here to help. We will take the time to accurately assess the issue and provide you with several solutions that work for you.