In This Guide: Average Cost | Repair vs. Replacement | Additional HVAC Repairs | Additional Cost Factors | Evaporator Coil vs. Condenser Coil | DIY vs. Professional | Signs You Need an Evaporator Coil | How To Save | Conclusion | FAQs
Your air conditioner’s evaporator coil removes heat from the air inside your house and sends it outdoors. If the coils aren’t full of cold refrigerant, the AC can’t do its job, and all that will come out is hot air. An evaporator coil can last ten years or more with proper HVAC maintenance, but it will eventually wear out and need repair or replacement.
The evaporator coil is expensive to replace, so it may be best to replace the whole AC unit when it breaks. This guide breaks down the cost of evaporator coil replacement and explains when it’s time to replace your air conditioner entirely.
Average replacement on a central ac unit costs $600 - $2,000.Get Free Estimates
The most common repairs range from $35 - 4,200.Get Free Estimates
Professional installation can cost on average around $400 - $1,000.Get Free Estimates
Average Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost
Replacing the evaporator coil on a central air conditioner costs $600–$2,000. The coil itself costs $180–$1,600, and professional installation adds another $400–$1,000. Here are the major factors that determine the total cost of the project.
- Brand: Some brands are more high-end than others.
- Style of coil: The shape of the evaporator coil and whether it’s encased also affects the price.
- Unit size: The larger your air conditioner, the larger the evaporator coil and the more it will cost to replace.
Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost by Unit Size
Air conditioner size is measured in tons, referring to how much air the unit can process in an hour. AC units can also be measured in British thermal units (BTU), with 1 ton equaling 12,000 BTU. Size is the primary factor in determining how much evaporator coil replacement costs, as larger units need larger, more expensive coils. Labor costs are usually about the same, no matter the size.
|AC Size||Material Cost||Materials and Installation|
Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost by Style
Style refers to the shape of the coil unit. The most common shape is the A coil, which has two slanted panels of tubing that meet at the top like the letter A. This is the industry-standard design because most air conditioners process air vertically, blowing it up or down over the coils. N- or Z-shaped coils work with either vertical or horizontal airflow, while slab coils require horizontal airflow.
These styles are typically housed in a protective casing, though AC units with a customized shape may require uncased coils. Uncased evaporator coils are less expensive but may get damaged more quickly.
|N or Z coils||$600–$1,600|
Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost by Brand
A generic evaporator coil costs less than a name-brand part, but keep in mind that you can void your AC’s manufacturer’s warranty if you use a generic replacement part. Here are some typical prices for new evaporator coils by brand, not including labor costs.
Evaporator Coil Repair vs. Replacement
An evaporator coil can be repaired rather than replaced in some cases. If the tubing is frozen, there may be a problem with the coolant line that’s causing the cold refrigerant to back up. The problem may also be that the evaporator coil has become dirty or moldy; a yearly HVAC maintenance visit will ensure the coil gets cleaned before affecting AC performance.
It’s usually time to replace the coils if they’re leaking, as this signals that the coil unit is too old to work correctly. The leak was probably caused by erosion if nothing external has damaged the coil. The refrigerant flowing through the system eats away at the inner lining of the coil’s tubing over time, requiring the tubing to be replaced.
Additional HVAC Repairs
The problem isn’t necessarily a faulty evaporator coil if your air conditioner stops blowing cool air, or there may be issues in addition to the coil. Here are the most common AC repairs and how much they cost.
|Repair Job||Average Cost Range|
|Air filter cleaning or replacement||$75–$200|
|Air handler replacement||$1,500–$3,400|
|Circuit board repair or replacement||$200–$600|
|Condenser coil repair||$100–$1,500|
|Condenser unit replacement||$1,200–$4,200|
|Drain clog removal||$100–$150|
|Expansion valve replacement||$250–$380|
|Filter drier replacement||$300–$500|
|Heat pump repair||$250–$950|
|Thermostat repair or replacement||$150–$550|
Additional Cost Factors for Evaporator Coil Replacement
The following factors may also affect evaporator coil replacement costs.
- Home warranty: Your home warranty provider will often cover the cost of a new evaporator coil and the labor to install it if you have a warranty with HVAC system coverage and your evaporator coil wears out from everyday use.
- Labor: HVAC professionals charge $75–$125 per hour. Anything that increases the time needed to do the job will increase the total price. Most jobs take two to four hours.
- Refrigerant type: New evaporator coils usually need to be filled with new refrigerant, sometimes called Freon. Some refrigerants cost more than others, though most are $100–$350.
- SEER rating: All HVAC units are given a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating, with more efficient units receiving higher ratings. The evaporator coil must match the whole unit’s rating, and more efficient coils cost more.
- Timing: You’ll pay more for evaporator coil replacement during summer, the busiest season for AC repair technicians. You’ll also have to pay extra if you require urgent service.
- Type of HVAC unit: Ductless AC systems, mini-splits, packaged HVAC units, and geothermal heat pumps have different evaporator coil replacement costs.
- Unit location: The job will take longer and cost more if your AC unit is difficult for the HVAC technician to access.
Evaporator Coil vs. Condenser Coil
There are two major coil units inside an air conditioner: the evaporator coil, which is part of the indoor portion of the system, and the condenser coil, which is part of the outdoor unit. It’s important to know how an air conditioner works to understand the difference between them.
An air conditioning system is made of a series of tubes through which coolant or refrigerant is transported. The refrigerant is in a liquid state when it’s cold and flows through the evaporator coil in the indoor AC unit, sometimes called the air handler. As warm air flows over the evaporator coil, heat from the air is transferred to the refrigerant, cooling and drying the air and warming the coolant. The coolant changes from liquid to gas as it warms.
The air conditioner pumps this gaseous refrigerant to the outdoor portion of the system, also called the condensing unit. There, the compressor applies pressure to the refrigerant as it travels through the AC condenser coils until it becomes liquid again. A fan blows the excess heat away from the coils, and the cold refrigerant returns to the indoor unit to cool more air.
Evaporator coils and condenser coils have similar lifespans, so if it’s time to replace one, it may also be time to replace the other. Unfortunately, they’re both costly parts, so if both fail, you’re better off replacing the entire unit.
DIY vs. Professional Evaporator Coil Replacement
Although you can purchase a new evaporator coil online, having an HVAC professional install it is best. Removing and replacing the coil is relatively straightforward, but the old coil will need to be drained of refrigerant, and the new unit will need to be filled. Refrigerant reclamation is a process that requires specialized training and tools, and refrigerant spills are toxic and expensive problems to remedy.
You’ll also end up paying for repair costs if you accidentally damage anything in the indoor unit, so you’re better off hiring a licensed, certified HVAC professional from the start. The technician can perform a leak test to make sure the evaporator coil has to be replaced instead of repaired.
Signs That You Need a New Evaporator Coil
Evaporator coil failure is hard to diagnose until a professional can open the air handler unit and look closely at the coils. Most of the signs your coil is broken are similar to those of other air conditioner parts failing. Call an HVAC technician if you notice any of the following signs:
- Warm air is blowing out of your AC vents.
- The air conditioner turns on and off rapidly or doesn’t turn on at all.
- You see a water or refrigerant leak near the indoor unit.
- Unusual sounds are coming from the air handler.
- Your AC system still uses environmentally toxic R-22 refrigerant, which is no longer permitted for sale in the United States.
How To Save on Evaporator Coil Replacement Costs
Homeowners shouldn’t attempt to save money by doing the work of an HVAC professional themselves, but there are other ways to keep the cost of evaporator coil replacement down.
- Keep your evaporator coil functional as long as possible by performing regular maintenance and scheduling a yearly HVAC tune-up.
- Replace your air filter as recommended by the manufacturer. This will ensure your evaporator coil won’t work harder than it has to.
- Check whether your evaporator coil is under warranty. You’ll still have to pay labor costs, but this could save you several hundred dollars on the replacement part.
- A home warranty with HVAC coverage may cover the cost of materials and labor if the evaporator coil breaks due to normal wear and tear. If the part is covered, you’ll only have to pay a service fee on top of your usual monthly premium.
- Get quotes from at least three HVAC companies before choosing a technician.
- A generic evaporator coil costs less than a brand-name part, though you’ll want to ensure this doesn’t void your warranty.
It’s time to replace your AC unit if the repair or replacement cost multiplied by the air conditioner’s age is more than $5,000. Thus, an evaporator coil replacement on a system older than 7 or 8 years may be less economical than a full AC replacement.
The evaporator coil is a vital and expensive part of your air conditioner and needs to be repaired or replaced by a licensed HVAC technician. Be aware that it may be more affordable to replace the entire AC than a large part like the evaporator coil. Most HVAC companies can provide quotes for both unit and evaporator coil replacement to help you decide.
FAQs About Evaporator Coil Replacement
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at email@example.com.