Factors Determining Whether To Replace An AC Compressor

An air conditioning (AC) compressor, which sits in the AC's outdoor unit, increases refrigerant temperature and pressure to facilitate heat exchange. The compressor can malfunction just like other parts of the AC. Unfortunately, the compressor is relatively expensive, and many people wonder whether it is worth replacing. 

Below are three critical factors that can help you determine whether to replace the compressor or the whole AC system.

AC System Age

The compressor is not a maintenance part that you need to replace regularly. The compressor should last about as long as the AC. You should consider replacing the whole system if the AC is old and most of its parts are failing. In such a case, you probably have an AC that has reached the end of its lifespan.

However, you can consider compressor replacement if the AC is only a few years old. For example, you may replace the compressor if the AC is a few years old. You should be able to replace the compressor and enjoy the rest of the AC's lifespan as long as you have maintained the AC faithfully.

Applicable Warranties

A warranty can help you reduce the compressor replacement's overall cost and make the project worthwhile. Here are a couple of warranties homeowners can use for such repairs.

Manufacturer's Warranty

AC manufacturers typically have relatively lengthy warranty terms. If the warranty term has not expired, it probably means that the compressor was defective, to begin with. Of course, you may have to prove that you haven't violated the warranty terms, such as unauthorized repairs. Note that most manufacturer warranties cover part but not labor costs.

Home Warranty

Home warranties typically cover major appliances, such as ACs. In this case, you have to work with an AC technician within the manufacturer's network. Evaluate your warranty's terms and conditions to determine coverage and limits.

Compressor Versus AC System Cost

Although compressors are relatively expensive, their costs vary. Factors that affect compressor cost include:

  • Brand
  • Size
  • Refrigerant

You should also consider the labor costs, which vary greatly by location and contractor, in addition to the compressor purchase cost. Compare the total bill you are likely to pay versus the cost of a new AC. A new AC purchase makes sense if the two costs only differ slightly. After all, the new AC installation means every part of the system will have a fresh lifespan.

As you can see, the decision to replace a malfunctioning compressor varies by situation. Contact an AC repair technician to diagnose your compressor problem and advise a relevant solution.