In This Guide: Average Cost | Cost Factors | Repair vs. Replacement | DIY vs. Professional | Signs Your AC Is Broken | How to Save | How To Hire a Pro | Conclusion | FAQs

An air conditioner breakdown can be a nightmare, especially if it’s hot outside. Some air conditioner repairs are expensive, but some are easy and relatively inexpensive. This guide breaks down the costs of various air conditioner repairs and explains when it may be better to replace your AC entirely.

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Typical Price Range: $100 - $650
Central AC Repair

Average repair cost for a central ac until ranges from $100 - $650.

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Split AC Repair

Mini-Split repair costs on average, range from $750 - $900.

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HVAC heating and air conditioning residential units or heat pump
AC Replacement

For an AC replacement you can expect to pay between $2,500 - $15,000.

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Average Air Conditioner Repair Cost

Most issues with central AC units cost $100–$650 to repair. However, not all parts can be repaired, and replacement parts can get expensive. Here are the major factors that determine how much you’ll pay.

  • Type of air conditioner: Smaller, less complex air conditioning systems are less expensive to repair.
  • Type of repair: Compressor issues, ductwork problems, and refrigerant recapture are the most expensive.
  • Type of replacement: Some parts are more expensive to replace than others.

Air Conditioner Repair Cost by Type of Unit

The larger and more complex the air conditioning system, the more expensive it is to repair. Fixing a central air unit is moderately pricey, but ductless mini-splits are even more expensive because of the electronics inside. Window and portable units are the cheapest to repair but inexpensive to buy, so you may want to replace them.

Type of ACCommon ProblemsAverage Repair Cost
Central ACDrain clog, thermostat replacement, refrigerant leak$100–$650
Ductless mini-splitCircuit board repair$750–$900
GeothermalLeaking pipes, faulty heat pump$200–$700
HVAC packageIgnition problems, malfunctioning thermostat, refrigerant recharge$300–$500
Portable unitClogged drain line$80–$250
Swamp coolerBelt, pad, or pump replacement$125–$500
Window unitCompressor malfunction, thermostat failure$50–$150

Air Conditioner Repair Cost by Type of Repair

The problem or part that requires fixing determines how quickly and cheaply your air conditioner can be repaired. Air filter replacement, drain unclogging, and refrigerant recharges are on the low end of the cost spectrum and are often part of regular AC maintenance. Repairing ductwork or cleaning up a freon leak can cost more than $1,000.

Here are the costs of various types of repairs for central ACs and package HVAC systems.

Repair TypeAverage Cost
Air filter change or cleaning$75–$200
Blower motor$150–$200
Capacitor$300–$400
Circuit board$200–$250
Coil$200–$475
Compressor$600–$1,200
Condenser$475–$600
Drain clog removal$100–$150
Ductwork$500–$1,200
Expansion valve$250–$380
Fan motor$550–$650
Freon leak recapture$400–$1,500
Thermostat$150–$500

Air Conditioner Repair Cost by AC Replacement Part

Not every part of an air conditioner costs thousands of dollars to replace. New fuses, thermostats, and expansion valves are all a few hundred dollars at most. AC compressor replacement is in the thousands, and evaporator coils get more expensive as unit size increases.

Replacement PartAverage Material Cost
Capacitor$220–$500
Circuit board$200–$600
Compressor$1,000–$2,500
Condenser coil$550–$1,100
Contactor$175–$400
Drain pan$50–$100
Evaporator coil$200–$6,000
Expansion valve$250–$450
Fan motor$400–$450
Fuses$35–$300
Relays$80–$300
Thermostat$120–$550

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Additional Cost Factors for Air Conditioner Repair

The type of AC system and repair or replacement part are the main cost determinants, but here are some other factors that may come into play.

  • Accessibility: The HVAC technician may charge extra if the AC unit is difficult to access.
  • AC unit size: HVAC unit size is often expressed in either tons or BTU, both of which measure how much air the unit can cool. Large units can process more warm air in a shorter time, making it more expensive to repair.
  • Annual maintenance: Yearly AC maintenance and tune-up visits cost $100–$200.
  • Brand name vs. generic parts: Most HVAC manufacturers make their own replacements for expensive, complex parts such as compressors. Though these are expensive, you may void your warranty if you choose cheaper generic parts instead.
  • Home warranty: The best home warranty companies offer coverage for air conditioning repair and tune-ups. While they won’t pay for every problem, you’ll only have to pay a service call fee if a covered part breaks due to wear and tear.
  • Labor costs: A licensed HVAC technician charges $65–$150 per hour, but there may also be a flat service fee of $75–$200.
  • Refrigerant recharge: Your system shouldn’t require extra coolant when working properly, but you’ll pay an additional $125–$300 for more refrigerant if there’s a leak.
  • Warranty coverage: Be sure to let your technician know if your air conditioner or its parts are still under a manufacturer’s warranty, as you’ll likely save money.
  • Timing: HVAC companies are busier during summer and charge more when demand is high. Emergency air conditioner repair costs at least $300 in addition to standard prices.

 

Air Conditioner Repair vs. Replacement

Residential cooling systems usually last 12–15 years, depending on how heavily you use them. Replacing an air conditioner costs between $2,500 and $15,000 for a central unit, including installation. However, air conditioners are much less expensive to repair than to replace.

You may need to replace your system if you multiply its age in years by the estimated repair costs, and the result is more than $5,000. Here are some other signs that it may be time for a new air conditioner.

  • The repair is more than 50% of the unit’s purchase price.
  • The unit breaks down frequently.
  • The unit is more than 12 years old.
  • The unit still uses R-22 freon, an environmentally harmful chemical banned in 2020.
  • Your energy bills are increasing, and you want a more efficient system.

 

DIY vs. Professional Air Conditioner Repair

There’s a reason HVAC technicians must be licensed and certified: AC repair is a specialty job that requires training and expertise. Most HVAC repairs are too much for even the most proficient DIYers, but there are some simple repairs or replacements you can do yourself.

  • Check your circuit breaker and thermostat to make sure that an AC malfunction isn’t due to an easily remedied problem.
  • Change your air filter regularly.
  • Defrost your evaporator coils by shutting the unit off or running only the fan until the ice melts.
  • Blown fuses and cracked drain pans are easy to replace.
  • You can clean condenser coils, discharge and replace the capacitor, and check your ductwork if you have some knowledge and the right tools.

 

Signs That Your Air Conditioner Is Broken

The best indicator that your air conditioner is broken is if it isn’t blowing cool air. However, there are more subtle signs that it’s time for a repair.

  • Your air conditioner runs constantly instead of switching on and off.
  • Your unit runs very short cooling cycles.
  • You can hear the motor running, but there’s weak or no airflow.
  • The unit is making unusual or excessive noises.
  • The air coming from the vents smells musty or foul.
  • You see drips or leaks around the unit.
  • Ice is accumulating on the unit.
  • Your utility bills are increasing even though your AC usage is about the same.

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How To Save on Air Conditioner Repair Costs

Air conditioner parts wear out over time, and you’ll have to replace them eventually. There are some ways to keep repair costs down, particularly if you think long-term and budget wisely.

  • Change your air filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Get quotes from at least three different licensed technicians for big-ticket repairs.
  • Get your annual tune-up during the off-season.
  • Know which parts the manufacturer’s warranty covers and how long it lasts.

Perform regular air conditioner maintenance to prevent problems and catch others before they become catastrophic. This maintenance may be necessary to retain your home warranty coverage.


 

How To Hire a Professional HVAC Technician

Here are some tips for evaluating HVAC repair services.

  • Ask about guarantees or warranties on parts and labor.
  • Ask when the company’s off-season is and how prices compare to the busy season.
  • Check the company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page and customer reviews on Yelp, TrustPilot, and Google Reviews.
  • Ensure the technician is bonded, licensed, and insured.
  • Most HVAC technicians offer annual maintenance plans, often for a discount or priority schedule, so ask about your options.

 

Our Conclusion

Air conditioner repair can be expensive, particularly when major parts break, but having a working AC is vital to keeping your home comfortable in hot weather. Test your air conditioner in late winter or spring and get any necessary repairs done before the busy season for HVAC companies. Also, change your air filter regularly.

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Typical Price Range: $100 - $650

 

FAQs About Air Conditioner Repair Cost

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