Aside from the size of the unit, the variation in AC compressor replacement costs can be explained by a few other factors. Repairing or replacing your AC compressor may include these elements:
- Compressor brand
- Compressor repair costs
- Parts costs
Compressor Repair Cost
Unfortunately, bad AC compressors can rarely be repaired on-site. Most of the time, if they’re broken, they must be completely replaced. For compressors that can be repaired, most technicians charge between $100 and $150 per hour for labor. You’ll also need to pay for any necessary parts.
Type of Compressor
Residential air conditioners have either single-stage, two-stage, or variable-speed compressors. When you replace the compressor, you’ll need to use a model of the same type. Single-stage compressors run on an all-or-nothing basis, running at full capacity until the air temperature matches the temperature on the thermostat. They’re the least expensive models, but they’re also the least efficient.
Two-stage compressors, on the other hand, have a high and low setting. When the air temperature is close to the desired temperature, the low setting will run the unit at 60% to 70% capacity, making the unit quieter and more efficient. Finally, variable-speed compressors can operate at any capacity from 0% to 100%, allowing for the most precise temperature control and greatest efficiency. However, they’re also the most complex and expensive to replace.
Because of differences in manufacturing, you’ll typically need to replace your AC’s compressor with a new one of the same brand. Here are some of the most common AC brands and how much their compressors cost before installation:
- Carrier: $450–$2,000
- Copeland: $600–$2,300
- Goodman/Amana: $350–$1,200
- Lennox: $600–$2,300
- Rheem/Ruud: $600–$1,400
- Trane/American Standard/Mitsubishi: $450–$2,200
- York/Coleman: $550–$1,500
Labor or Installation Cost
For professional installation, labor costs will usually make up 30% to 50% of the overall price. In the case of a compressor replacement, that’s usually between $400 and $1,200. For smaller jobs, HVAC contractors tend to charge between $75 and $150 per hour, based on their experience level and the complexity of the job.
Because compressors are such vital parts of air conditioning systems, most come with warranties. HVAC manufacturers usually offer limited warranties on air conditioner parts, including compressors. Manufacturer warranty coverage usually lasts five to 10 years and applies to parts only, not labor. Thankfully, this can often cut the total cost in half.
Along with the above factors, a few other factors can affect how much you’ll pay for compressor replacement. If you live somewhere with a high cost of living, you’ll usually pay a bit more per hour in labor costs. Additionally, if you need a refill or recharge on refrigerant like Freon at the same time as a compressor replacement, you’ll pay an extra $100–$300.