You may have heard or read that a dead compressor means the entire air conditioning system must be replaced. It’s not true 100% of the time, but it’s often the case. The compressor is an expensive item to replace. Because dead compressors usually happen in old air conditioners, it’s more cost-effective to start over with a new AC rather than pay to put a new compressor into a system that’s already wasting power and a few years from the junk heap.
Below is helpful breakdown of the different choices you have when the compressor fails.
- Replace just the compressor – Check the air conditioning system’s warranty, which often covers 10 years parts and labor. Is the compressor still under warranty? If it is, have only the compressor replaced, since the warranty will take care of it.
- Replace the condenser –The condenser unit is the outdoor cabinet of components, including the compressor, fan, and condenser coil. This is less expensive than a full AC replacement, but we don’t recommend it unless your current budget restricts a bigger job.
- Replace the air conditioner –This means replacing the condenser and the indoor evaporator coil. (The air handler can stay.) When you do this, you’ll receive a new warranty, and you won’t have to worry about a mismatched indoor and outdoor system that reduces energy efficiency.
- Replace the HVAC system –This includes the air conditioner, the air handler, and the heater. A full overhaul of your central comfort system. This is a good option if you have an old furnace that isn’t living up to expectations. It costs less to have the AC and heater replaced as one job than to stagger them out separately.