AC Compressor | Heat Pump Compressor
An Air Conditioning Compressor is used to compress the coolant, causing a chemical reaction and making it colder! In a home HVAC system, this would be a type of coolant or freon. The gas becomes hot and turns into high pressure freon gas. The hot gas then runs through a series of coils in order to dissipate and then condenses into a liquid. If the refrigerant becomes low, this will cause the low pressure switch to trip and the compressor will not be allowed to run. Compressor replacements can be very expensive and before you ever think that your compressor has failed, you MUST call out a qualified technician to test it for you, otherwise, you could spend hundreds of dollars for nothing!
The cause for a compressor not performing could be low refrigerant, wiring damage or actuator failure, so always get a second opinion before replacement. Another VERY REAL consideration when it comes to compressor failure, is the age of your home hvac system. In most cases, if your air conditioner or heat pump is more than 10 years old, replacing the compressor may not be the best choice, since the rest of the system is going to fail very soon as well, and adding the compressor may just cause that to happen instantly!
The price you pay for a replacement ac compressor really depends on the age of your system, the type of compressor (Scroll or Reciprocating) and of course, the price the market is willing to pay! In most cases, you can find a replacement compressor for under $300, but you need to keep in mind some of the incidentals that are going to add to the overall cost of a compressor replacement.
- Refrigerant will cost a few hundred dollars more and you need a license to handle it, so you also need to call on a:
- Licensed Technician Cost – Minimum of $90
- Copper Fittings – Less than $20 for elbows and miscellaneous fittings to reattach the new compressor
- Vacuum Pump – You MUST clean out the copper lines AND test your soldered joints for leaks before putting in the freon! A good vacuum pump can cost $150-$300 (Technicians will have this already)
- Time… If this is your first change, you can easily expect 3-4 hours of time to swap the compressor.
When you add up everything needed.. in many cases, the cost to replace your own compressor can easily reach the cost to replace the entire ac unit! Before you start, it may be worth getting a few free ac quotes to compare.