How much does AC repair cost?
Generally speaking, you can pay an average of $300 to have your AC repaired. However, the cost of repairing different issues can range from $50 up to $900.
- How much does AC repair cost?
- What is the Average Cost of Repairing an AC Unit?
- What Factors Affect the Cost of AC Repairs?
- What Happens if I Don’t Have my AC Fixed on Time?
- AC Repairs: Different Types and their Estimated Costs
- 1. Home Call Costs
- 2. Tune-Up Costs
- 3. Refrigerant Recharge Costs
- 4. Compressor Replacement Cost
- 5. Capacitor Replacement Cost
- 6. Evaporator Coil Repair and Replacement Costs
- 7. Fan Motor Replacement Costs
- 8. Condenser Replacement Costs
- 9. Drain Pan Replacement Cost
- 10. Ductwork Repair Costs
- 11. Contactor Replacement Cost
- 12. Circuit Board Replacement Cost
- 13. Fuses, Relays or Circuit Breakers Replacement Costs
- 14. Thermostat Replacement Cost
- 15. Hard Start Kit Replacement Cost
- 16. Line set Replacement Cost
- 17. Filter Drier Replacement Cost
- 18. Flushing the Drain Line Cost
- How Do I Know that My AC Needs to Be Repaired?
- What is Wrong with my AC?
- AC Unit won’t Start
- AC is Working but Warm Air is Coming Out of the Vents
- It Takes an Unusually Long Time to Reach the Desired Temperature
- Air Coming Out of the Unit Smells Bad or Weird
- There’s Leakage
- Noises Are Coming Out of the Unit
- The Unit Keeps on Turning On and Off For No Reason
- The Unit is Icy or Frosty
- The Thermostat Display is Blank or Displays a Wrong Reading
- Utility Bills are Exceptionally High
- How to Maintain an AC Unit?
- Energy Saving Tips
- How to Choose an AC Repair Company?
Generally speaking, you can pay an average of $300 to have your AC repaired. However, the cost of repairing different issues can range from $50 up to $900. The great deviation in the price is related to the nature of the problem and the price of replacement parts.
Most people only remember that their air conditioning unit needs maintenance when it stops working. In the summer months, having a non-functioning AC is the worst thing that can happen to you.
It’s very important to have a clear idea about various AC problems and the cost associated with fixing each one.
What is the Average Cost of Repairing an AC Unit?
Regular maintenance can make your AC last for a couple of decades. According to data obtained from several maintenance jobs, the average cost to repair an AC is $300. Professionals charge a fixed rate per hour which can be as low as $70 or as high as $130.
The cost of cleaning up the ducts or fixing a leak doesn’t compare to the cost of replacing the compressor. However, the early detection of the problem means that you can pay less to have it fixed. Nevertheless, if your AC is too old, sometimes it becomes more practical and less expensive to have it replaced than to have it fixed.
What Factors Affect the Cost of AC Repairs?
There are several factors that play a significant role in determining the final cost of your AC Repair.
An AC will probably work for 15 years with no issues, provided that you do the regular cleaning and scheduled maintenance. However, after 15 or 20 years the repair cost will increase significantly.
Even if your AC isn’t that old, you should think about the amount of money spent over a year, for example, and compare it to the cost of replacement. If you’ve paid more than $5000 to repair your AC over a year, then it’s probably smarter to have it replaced.
As a rule of thumb, larger AC units work better for larger homes. However, they also come with a higher maintenance and repair bill.
They are more efficient, especially in the long run when you’ve been using your AC for years. However, you should understand that your big AC unit requires more work, so it will cost you more if you decide to have it repaired.
Keeping the windows and doors shut means that your AC will use less power to lower the temperature in your house. This also means that your thermostat and compressor won’t have to apply much force to maintain the low temperature.
The more power your AC unit has to apply, the more likely it will need a repair later on. Adjusting the thermostat or closing the windows and doors whenever you’re using the AC means that you can extend its lifetime.
Doing scheduled maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer of your AC unit will help you have more control over the repair bill. Maintenance also helps you detect smaller problems before they manifest and become more prominent.
Annual checkups and changing the filters, cleaning the coils, and closing all open spaces guarantees the best performance of your AC unit. They will also prevent serious issues that are typically more expensive to repair. Here are some things that your technician will do annually to maintain the condition of your AC system.
- Restore levels of the refrigerant.
- Replace all air filters.
- Clean the coils.
- Inspect and repair all the electric parts.
- Lubricate all the moving parts of the AC system.
Type of Problem
The last factor that will affect your repair bill is the nature of the problem itself. Some problems are easy to fix so they will require less time and money. Some serious issues require the replacement of several internal parts. The repairman will spend a significant amount of time detecting and repairing the problem, which means a higher repair bill.
What Happens if I Don’t Have my AC Fixed on Time?
Delaying any AC unit repair comes with a list of negative consequences. Every homeowner should be aware of them before they decide to ignore a problem, thinking that it might resolve on its own.
You Might Need to Have Your AC Replaced
Leaving a problem until it grows and becomes more serious means that you’re risking the performance of your AC unit. Unless it’s taken care of promptly, your unit might shut down completely.
At this stage, the cost of repair usually exceeds the cost of replacement. This hassle can be easily avoided if you try to fix problems as soon as the symptoms appear.
Replacing the AC unit, without any ductwork is rather expensive with a cost that ranges between $5000 and $8000. If you need to replace the ductwork as well, you’ll be paying something between $9,200 and $12,300. This significant amount of money can be easily avoided if you commit to regular checkups and maintenance.
You’re Risking the Safety of your Family
This comes second on our list but it’s one of the most important factors to think about. An AC unit that doesn’t function properly will have a negative effect on the safety of your family.
The filters need to be replaced regularly to boost the performance of the AC unit and put less pressure on the compressor. At the same time, this guarantees that your family won’t be breathing in unclean air.
Mold spores can grow in the filters due to humidity and breathing them in can cause respiratory problems and allergies. Changing the filters and cleaning the ducts frequently means that you and your family can breathe in clean and healthy air.
If the compressor is over-functioning, it can cause a short circuit that can lead to a fire. Overloading the compressor happens when other parts of the system aren’t working properly. The minute you feel that there’s a strange noise coming from your AC unit, then you should turn off the system and ask for professional help.
The Air isn’t as Cold as You Need it to Be
When the AC unit isn’t working the way it should, you’ll still pay the bill, but the air won’t be as cold as it should. This is because the system isn’t working properly.
It’s always recommended that you try and check your AC system before summer when the professionals aren’t that busy. They will likely be too busy to answer your call promptly if you contact them during the high season.
You’ll Have a Higher Utility Bill
When the unit isn’t functioning properly, it will use more energy to deliver the same expected performance. When you set the temperature by adjusting the thermostat, the AC unit will work to maintain it in your room for as long as you need it to. However, when the system is jeopardized, this job becomes more difficult.
The compressor will work harder to maintain the temperature, especially if it’s too low or too high. Working harder means that it will use more electricity and you’ll pay more money. Eventually, the system will fail.
Your System Will Be Overly Strained
Using the AC when it’s not working as it should will put the whole system under pressure, so it will eventually shut down. The system has to work harder if the filters are dirty or the ductwork is clogged.
Choosing the wrong system for your house also puts a lot of strain on the unit. A smaller unit costs less to install and maintain, but it might not be powerful enough to keep your house cool.
AC Repairs: Different Types and their Estimated Costs
Knowing how much your AC repair will cost will help stay prepared. It’s a bit upsetting to be surprised with a high repair bill that you can’t afford. In this section, we’ll talk about various types of repairs and an estimate of the associated costs.
The amount mentioned is a rough estimate that might increase or decrease depending on many factors. However, this will give you a clear idea of the amount of money that you should expect to spend to have your AC unit functioning the way it should.
1. Home Call Costs
Depending on your location and how busy the pro technicians are, a home call can cost between $70 and $200. In some emergency cases, the cost can be as high as $300. This happens when you request that a professional comes to have your AC system fixed fast, on a holiday, on a remote location or at night.
Most repair centers charge by the hour, with labor costs that range between $70 and $130. However, in most cases, this cost is included in the final bill that you’ll pay for labor and any replacement parts needed to have your AC unit fixed.
Labor costs tend to get higher if your problem is particularly challenging or if repairs are in high demand like in the summer. You should always ask if the fee you’re paying will be included in the final bill or will be charged separately.
2. Tune-Up Costs
If you haven’t paid for scheduled maintenance then a tune-up call can cost between $50 and $110. However, most companies will offer you a yearly deal that costs $150 to $300. This deal involves 2 visits per year, where the technician will take a good look at your AC system and do the planned maintenance.
After winter, the AC system should be checked so it’s ready for work. The same is done after the AC has kept the temperature of your home in check during the hot summer months.
These semi-annual visits are usually enough to detect any potential problems. They will involve changing the filters and restoring the level of the refrigerant, in addition to regular cleaning.
Any expensive parts that should be replaced are usually not included in the yearly deal. You’ll have to pay for them separately. However, doing the scheduled maintenance will help you keep your energy bill under control, guaranteeing the most efficient performance of your AC system.
3. Refrigerant Recharge Costs
Every time you have your AC system checked or repaired, the technician should take a look at the refrigerant level and restore it back to normal. This job usually takes one or two hours and will cost anything between $250 and $750.
The refrigerant is the cold gas that cools the air in your house. Here are some signs that you need to have it checked.
- You hear a hissing or gurgling sound whenever you turn your AC unit on.
- The unit is working properly but the air coming out of it is warm and not cold enough.
- There’s ice buildup on the outside of your AC unit.
- Your energy bill is higher than usual. This happens because your AC unit has to work harder to maintain the cold temperature.
4. Compressor Replacement Cost
Replacing a compressor can cost between $1,300 and $1,900 on average. This happens when you’ve ignored that your compressor hasn’t been functioning well for a very long time.
The compressor is the most crucial part of your AC system as it changes the liquid gas to cold air. A bad compressor will keep on doing its job for a while, but the strain will eventually cause it to fail. Here are a few signs that you have a bad compressor.
- The AC unit doesn’t provide cold air the way it used to or should.
- Not enough air is coming out of the vents.
- Whenever you turn on the AC unit, you start to hear grinding or squealing noises. This might be a sign that there’s a loose bearing or that there’s an internal leak.
If you experience any of these signs, then you should turn your AC unit off and have it checked by a professional. A quick and less costly repair might solve the problem.
5. Capacitor Replacement Cost
You know that you need to replace your capacitor if your AC unit produces a humming noise or if you receive a high energy bill. This is not a difficult job and can be easily completed within one hour.
Unbranded capacitors can cost as little as $10 or $20. The whole job of replacing the AC capacitor might cost $120 or $150. However, if you choose to buy a branded item, you should expect to pay around $400.
6. Evaporator Coil Repair and Replacement Costs
When there’s a leak in the evaporator coil, you should have it repaired. This happens due to the VOCs and the humidity in the air which result in the formation of acids. These acids cause minor holes in the coil which lead to leaks. The cost of repairing the coil can range between $1300 and $2000.
If the AC unit is frosty or there’s a bad smell coming out of the vents, then you need a technician to have a look at the evaporator coil. The coil is filled with cold liquid that takes the heat out of the air in your home and releases cold air instead. The cost of replacing this coil costs between $675 and $1,300.
7. Fan Motor Replacement Costs
Without the fan, your AC unit won’t be able to spread the cool air in any room. The system might work properly to lower the temperature of the air, but it won’t be able to push it into your home unless you have a functioning fan. Replacing the fan motor costs between $225 and $700. The condensing unit costs between $60 and $135.
8. Condenser Replacement Costs
The condenser has a heat exchanger that cools down the refrigerant vapor and condenses it. It also has a compressor that raises the pressure of the refrigerant to move it along, and a fan to blow the air outside. The fan is covered to keep objects from falling inside.
The condenser is located outside your home, so you should always keep an eye on how it functions. If you hear weird noises, receive high energy bills, or feel that the air isn’t as cool as it’s supposed to be, then it’s time to have your condenser checked. A bad condenser also means that your unit will take more time to blow cold air.
Replacing the condenser coil costs between $580 and $3,610. The part costs between $130 and $450. This is a big job and might take some time as the professional will take a look at other parts of the unit to make sure that they’re functioning properly.
The compressor or the pump can be replaced for a cost that lies between $100 and $165, with the part costing around $45. The drain tube costs between $100 and $195. The tubing costs between $20 and $40.
9. Drain Pan Replacement Cost
If you experience leaks, then you might need to have your drain pan checked. The water from the system collects in this pan before it’s directed towards the drain tube. Over time, the pan might crack or break and this means that it should be replaced. It usually costs anything between $250 and $575.
10. Ductwork Repair Costs
If you tackle any problems with your ductwork at an early stage, you’ll probably pay an amount that ranges between $200 and $300. Ducts deliver the cold air to every room in your house. With time, there will be tiny cracks in the ducts that need to be fixed as they will cause leaks that put more strain on your AC unit.
Ignoring minor cracks will result in the failure of the system. Replacing the whole ductwork is usually done when you have to replace the AC unit. This huge cost can be easily avoided if you do regular checkups.
11. Contactor Replacement Cost
This is the part responsible for conducting the electrical energy to your AC unit. If this part malfunctions, your AC unit won’t work. Luckily, this job can be handled in an hour. It usually costs between $150 to $450 with the part costing between $10 to $45.
12. Circuit Board Replacement Cost
With time, the circuit board will fail. Replacing it is an easy task that takes about an hour. The board costs between $100 and $150, and the cost of a replacement is between $125 and $625.
13. Fuses, Relays or Circuit Breakers Replacement Costs
The cost of replacing these items is anything between $75 and $290. Although this isn’t a tough job for a pro technician, these items control the electricity flow in your AC system.
They prevent accidental short circuits or surges that might damage your AC unit or the power source. In some cases, a bad fuse can start a fire that will subject your family and home to extreme danger.
14. Thermostat Replacement Cost
The thermostat maintains the temperature you specify as the AC unit runs. It will turn the unit on and off to keep the temperature at the level you choose. The thermostat should be replaced if the AC doesn’t turn off or you feel that the temperature fluctuates.
The cost of the thermostat itself is usually between $10 and $280, depending on the brand. The whole replacement cost should be between $75 and $575.
15. Hard Start Kit Replacement Cost
If your compressor takes more time than usual to get started, then you need to have your hard start kit checked. A good kit means that your AC unit will take less time to start and cool the air in your home. It usually costs something between $100 and $195 to be replaced.
16. Line set Replacement Cost
This runs the cooling liquid or refrigerant in places that are difficult to get to, like under the stairs and in the walls. The cost of replacing the line set is $165 to $625.
You know that you must replace the line set if you start to experience leaks. These leaks might happen inside the walls of your house so ignoring them might subject the foundation to danger.
17. Filter Drier Replacement Cost
This part filters the moisture in the air to deliver dry and cool air into your house. The extra moisture represents a good environment for the growth of mold and bacteria, so it’s important to have the drier replaced regularly. This part usually costs between $52 to $159.
18. Flushing the Drain Line Cost
It’s normal for debris and dirt to accumulate inside the drain line. Occasional flushing prevents clogging that might cause leaks and guarantees that the drain line will work efficiently. Regular cleaning of the drain line costs something between $75 to $250.
How Do I Know that My AC Needs to Be Repaired?
Your AC unit will let you know that it needs to be repaired. If you hear unusual sounds, if the temperature isn’t properly regulated or if you start to smell weird smells, then it’s time to call the repairman.
The most common mistake most homeowners commit is that they take their AC units for granted. You should always keep an eye on the unit and see if it’s working the way it should. Even if the air released is cold just the way you like it, regular inspection of the unit can save you a lot of hassle.
Make sure that there are no leaks or that there’s no mold growing on the compressor. If strange noises are coming out of your unit, then it’s probably the time that you should call a professional.
The earlier you detect the signs, the easier and less expensive the job will be. It will be quite challenging to have your AC fixed in the middle of summer when the temperature reaches its highest.
Here are some signs that you need to call a professional to take a look at your AC ASAP.
- AC unit won’t start.
- AC is working but warm air is coming out of the vents.
- It takes an unusually long time to reach the desired temperature.
- Air coming out of the unit smells bad or weird.
- There’s leakage.
- Noises are coming out of the unit.
- The unit keeps on turning on and off for no reason.
- The unit is icy or frosty.
- The thermostat display is blank or displays a wrong reading.
- Utility bills are exceptionally high.
In the next section, we’ll address these problems and suggest what should be done.
What is Wrong with my AC?
As a homeowner, it’s important to get yourself educated about the most common problems that you might encounter if you have an AC system. You should always contact a professional if you experience any problems with your AC as attempting to fix it yourself can cause further damage. Here’s what you should do if you experience one of the most common issues.
AC Unit won’t Start
This is probably an electricity problem. Check the circuit breaker and see if it’s tripped. If not, then you probably need to have the thermostat checked. In some cases, you might need to have your contactor replaced.
AC is Working but Warm Air is Coming Out of the Vents
The refrigerant might be the culprit. In this case, you should contact a professional to have the levels checked. In some cases, you might need to have the control board replaced as well.
It Takes an Unusually Long Time to Reach the Desired Temperature
This might be related to the condenser. Typically, the AC should take around one or two minutes to start blowing cold air after you turn it on. If it takes a lot longer than this time, then you need a professional to have the condenser checked and probably replaced.
Air Coming Out of the Unit Smells Bad or Weird
This can be a mold or mildew growth due to moisture build-up. A professional will change the filters and replace the drier if necessary.
In some cases, you might have a leak in the ductwork or drain tube. A small animal might crawl inside and die, causing the bad smell. In all cases, you should turn the system off and contact a technician to have the whole AC unit inspected and checked.
This might be a problem with the drain. Leaking issues should be addressed promptly as any delay can cause the leakage to find its way to your house. A professional will assess the situation and tell you about the exact part that needs to be replaced. Otherwise, you might be spending lots of cash on home renovation.
Noises Are Coming Out of the Unit
There are several noises that you might hear if there’s something wrong with your AC. Each one of them can be a sign that a certain part is malfunctioning and needs to be repaired or replaced.
If you’re hearing squealing or any high-pitched sound, then you’re probably facing a problem with your compressor. In this case, you should turn off the system right away and call a technician to come and take a look.
If you feel that there’s something knocking in the outside unit, then it might be something that fell into the unit and is obstructing the function of the fan. If you hear clicks that get faster as your AC keeps on working, then there’s something that is hitting the fan and a professional should come to remove it.
If you feel like there’s liquid pouring or moving inside the unit, then this is probably an issue with the refrigerant. This might be a leak and a professional should come to have it fixed. It could also be the drain line. Sometimes water gets into the drain line and it should be flushed and cleaned.
If you feel like there’s metal hitting metal in the outside unit, then you’ll probably have the fan motor bearings checked. If you hear lots of clicks as you’re trying to turn on the AC, there might be a problem with electricity.
In all these cases, you must not use the AC and should turn it off immediately. Using the system while some of the parts are malfunctioning can lead to irreparable damage that will eventually lead to the replacement of the most expensive parts or the whole system.
The Unit Keeps on Turning On and Off For No Reason
This happens when the system stops working before it reaches the desired temperature. This might be due to a problem with the refrigerant level because the filters are dirty, the evaporator cells are frozen or due to problems related to electricity.
In some cases, you can manage to fix the problem on your own. For example, you can try to change the filters yourself. Once you’re done, the system will start to work normally.
If the problem persists, check out the evaporator cells and see if they’re frozen. If this is the case, let them melt and try switching on the unit one more time.
If you’re facing a problem with electricity or with the level of refrigerant in your system, you shouldn’t try a DIY method to fix it. Call a professional and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Until your technician arrives, you shouldn’t try to use the AC.
The Unit is Icy or Frosty
This probably means that the evaporator coil is frozen. This happens when the filters are clogged so the moisture collects and freezes on the evaporator coil. To fix this problem, you can switch the AC off, let the coil melt and change the filter. If the problem isn’t fixed, you should contact a technician to inspect the condenser coil.
The Thermostat Display is Blank or Displays a Wrong Reading
This is a telltale sign that the thermostat needs to be replaced. Your thermostat will go bad with time. If the system doesn’t turn on and off or the display is blank, it’s time to have it replaced by a professional.
Utility Bills are Exceptionally High
This means that your AC isn’t working efficiently. There are a few reasons why this happens. The compressor might be going bad. This means that the system has to work harder.
If the refrigerant level is low, the AC will work hard to reach the temperature set by the thermostat. If the cold air is leaking from the ductwork, your system will be working unnecessarily to provide the desired coolness inside the rooms of your house.
Keep an eye on your utility bills to detect any unexplained increase. There are months when you’ll be using less energy because you’re always away or on vacation. However, if your energy bills increase all of a sudden, then you should ask a technician to fully inspect your system and determine what is going on with it.
How to Maintain an AC Unit?
This will help you avoid expensive repairs and replacements by preventing serious problems from happening. There are a few things that you can do to maintain your AC.
- Clean and change the filters frequently. This is something that any homeowner can do. Some filters are designed to last for one month while others can last up to 6 months. As a rule of thumb, you should change the filter whenever it gets dirty to prevent any damage to the AC unit.
- Adjust the thermostat. There’s no need to keep your central system working at full capacity if you’re not using it. Increase the temperature if you’re away from the house or going on vacation.
- Clean the coils frequently. Debris and dirt can clog your system and cause it to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. Regular cleaning will help you avoid this problem.
- If the outside unit is placed near the dryer vent, make sure that it’s not directed towards the AC unit. The lint from the dryer will build up and clog the filters or get inside the system can cause serious damage.
- Seal all the open spaces. If there are any open spaces near the windows or doors, have them properly sealed. This will prevent the cold air from escaping, which means that your system won’t have to work harder.
- Take a look at the landscape. Shrubs and bushes can obstruct the operation of your system if they’re close to the outside unit. Have them trimmed to allow for good airflow.
- Don’t forget to schedule maintenance visits. Signing up for a deal that involves two annual visits is more cost-efficient than requesting a house call to have your system checked. In some cases, the company might also offer a discount on several replacement parts.
Energy Saving Tips
Here are some tips that can help you lower your energy consumption and make the best of your AC.
- When the temperature drops, open the windows to let some air in. In the morning use drapes to block the UV rays and decrease the amount of heat in your house.
- Don’t set the thermostat too low if the weather is very hot outside. This will put tremendous pressure on the system.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate the cool air in every room.
- Be more energy efficient by using energy-efficient light bulbs and drying your clothes outside in hot weather. You should also try to use a grill in the backyard instead of the oven in hot summer days.
- Don’t use hot water in the summer. It’s unnecessary and will add to your energy consumption.
How to Choose an AC Repair Company?
While some companies offer several home repair services, it’s always recommended to stick to a company that specializes in AC repairs. Here are a few factors to help you choose the right one.
- Check if the company is licensed by the Contractors State License Board. You can do this online.
- Avoid a company that will give you an estimate over the phone. The company should send a technician to examine the unit before giving you an estimate. Make sure that you receive a written estimate.
- Check the company’s reviews and rating.
- Make sure that the company has been in business for a few years.
- It’s always recommended that you pick a company that is a member of the industry’s professional organizations like the ACCA or NATE.
- The company should carry a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance.
- Ask about the type of warranties the company offers and whether they cover labor, parts or both.
- Make sure that the company is certified to work on the brand of AC you own.
- Try to choose a company that offers 24/7 emergency services.
Life without an AC can become unbearable. This is why you should make sure that you do enough research to have it maintained and fixed. Although an AC is considered to be a luxury, lots of people take it for granted and don’t do the required maintenance.
Understanding the problems that you might deal with and how to have them fixed can help you prolong the life of your AC. Make sure that you choose a trustworthy professional to avoid unnecessary costs.