Atlas AC Repair, LLC

AC Compressor Cost Guide For 2021

Homeowner: A new AC compressor replacement costs between $600 to $1,600 if it is still under warranty.

Homeowner: An air conditioner compressor costs between $1,400 to $2,400 if it is no longer under warranty.

Commercial: HVAC compressor replacement costs the average business $2,000 plus.

Your AC compressor cost guide for 2021

Complete AC compressor replacement cost guide in 2021
  • Homeowner: AC Unit Compressor Cost Under Warranty – $600 to $1,600
  • Homeowner: AC Unit Compressor Cost Not Under Warranty – $1,400 to $2,400

What should be included in a Compressor install

You would think replacing a compressor would be as simple as taking the old one out and slapping in the new one. However, there are quite a few steps that have to be taken in order to do a proper change out.

What Is included in AC Compressor Replacement Cost?

Remove and install an AC compressor in the outdoor AC unit.
  • Pump down and dispose of freon refrigerant
  • Acid flush the system 
  • Removal of current AC compressor
  • Install new AC compressor
  • Replace filter dryer
  • Add new freon
  • Calibrate AC system
  • 1-year labor warranty
Carrier AC unit

Compressor Cost Break Out

Item Replacement Part CostLabor Cost At $120 Per Hr.
Compressor Replacement$730 - $1,300$300 - $420
Acid flush the system $25$40
Replace filter dryer$25$40
Add new freon
$150 - $860$0
Calibrate AC system$0$90
1-year labor warranty$0$0
Total$930 - $2,210$470 - $590

Compressor Type Details

Old Compressor

To keep things simple, the example pricing above is for a basic single-stage 14 SEER residential compressor changeout on an HVAC system that is fewer than 20 years old. Most manufacturers use a scroll compressor in this time frame, making it easy to get generic prices for a single-stage air conditioner. Pricing will vary quite a bit for older systems because the parts are no longer readily available. This is also true for multi-stage air conditioner compressors because there is another level of complexity added. There can be a thousand-dollar difference in the cost depending on if it’s still under warranty. To give you an idea, if you have a basic air conditioner, I would expect to spend $600 to $2,400 for a new AC compressor.

Looking at the tonnage of your home air conditioner can give you a better idea of how much a new AC compressor replacement will run. A 2-ton compressor replacement will cost from $600 to $1,400 while a 5-ton compressor install will run between $1,600 to $2,400.

Compressor TonnageUnder Warranty Replacement CompressorReplacement Compressor
2 Ton AC Compressor Cost$600$1,400
2.5 Ton AC Compressor Cost$800$1,600
3 Ton AC Compressor Cost$1,000$1,800
3.5 Ton AC Compressor Cost$1,200$2,000
4 Ton AC Compressor Cost$1,400$2,200
5 Ton AC Compressor Cost$1,600$2,400

Residential Compressor

The cost of a residential scroll compressor replacement will vary based on the size of the system. A 5-ton compressor is going to cost around $1,000 more than a 2-ton compressor. Keep this in mind if you are trying to set a budget. If you’re unsure of the size of your HVAC system, you can get the model number from the outdoor data plate. From there, you can do a Google search to find the tonnage of your system.

Compressor Price By Brand

Did you know that the brand of air conditioner you have can determine how much you pay for a compressor replacement? There could be a $1,000 difference in an AC compressor replacement cost depending on the brand.

Compressor BrandUnder Warranty Replacement CompressorReplacement Compressor
Lennox Compressor Cost$750 - $1,800$1,600 - $2,550
American Standard Compressor Cost$600 - $1,700$1,500 - $2,500
Trane Compressor Cost$600 - $1,700$1,500 - $2,500
Carrier Compressor Cost$600 - $1,600$1,400 - $2,400
Payne Compressor Cost$600 - $1,600$1,400 - $2,400
York Compressor Cost$500 - $1,350$1,200 - $1,800
Coleman Compressor Cost$500 - $1,350$1,200 - $1.800
Rheem Compressor Cost$700 - $1,400$1,200 - $1,600
Ruud Compressor Cost$700 - $1,400$1,200 - $1,600
Amana Compressor Cost$450 - $1,350Lifetime Limited Warranty
Goodman Compressor Cost$450 - $1,350$1,000 - $1.500

Residential Compressor by Brand

When asking how much to replace the AC compressor, one of the significant indicators of how much it will cost is the air conditioning brand. A new Trane compressor costs between $600 to $2,500, while a Goodman AC compressor costs $450 to $1,500. There could be around a thousand dollar difference in price. In some cases, an Amana compressor cost is the lowest in the industry because they offer a limited lifetime warranty on some of their systems. If you own an Amana, look into their extended warranty to see if you are still covered. One of the most popular brands many homeowners prefer is Carrier. When it comes to a Carrier compressor, the average homeowner will pay around $600 to $2,400 to get the air conditioner back up and running. One thing to note, every brand has a different warranty and coverage. If you get the model number from the outdoor AC units data tag, do a Google search. You should be able to find if your air conditioner compressor is still under warranty. If you are interested in learning about the top 10 air conditioner brands on the market, check out our blog that covers it in detail.

Compressor Price By Seer & Stages

The efficiency of your air conditioner can be a part of how much you spend on a compressor replacement. A high-efficiency multi-stage compressor can cost as much as $3,000.

3 Ton Compressor Seer RatingUnder Warranty Replacement CompressorReplacement Compressor
14 Seer Single Stage$1,000$1,800
16 Seer Single Stage$1,200$2,000
16 Seer Two Stage$1,400$2,400
18 Seer Single Stage$1,400$2,200
18 Seer Two Stage$1,400$2,600
21 Seer Variable Speed$1,600$2,800
23 Seer Variable Speed$1,800$3,000

Compressor seer Rating & stages

SEER rating and stages will have an impact on how much a compressor replacement cost. The more energy-efficient air conditioners have more moving parts and require more freon and larger compressors than a standard single-stage compressor.

High SEER Rating

A higher SEER system requires larger coils to use less energy to cool your home. Larger coils require more freon and a larger compressor to deal with the extra freon. The higher the SEER rating, the more freon is needed along with bigger and bigger compressors. This is why the compressor replacement cost is so much higher for a high SEER air conditioning system.

Multi-Stage Compressor

A multi-stage compressor is nothing like a single-stage AC compressor for several reasons. These compressors are enormous in comparison to a single-stage compressor. You almost have to consider these compressors, not as one compressor but multiples inside one big one. And you guessed it; a larger, more complicated AC compressor will cost considerably more than a simple single-stage compressor.

Goodman outdoor AC unit beside stone building

Replace Compressor Vs outdoor unit

If your system is no longer under warranty and it’s starting to get up there in age, you may want to consider putting the repair money into replacing the entire outdoor unit. Many homeowners are surprised to find out that it usually doesn’t cost that much more.

AC SizeReplace CompressorReplace Outdoor Unit
2 Ton$1,400$2,992
2.5 Ton $1,600$3,039
3 Ton$1,800$3,250
3.5 Ton$2,000$3,544
4 Ton$2,200$3,600
5 Ton$2,400$3,685

How to know what the right thing to do is

Is the compressor still under Warranty?

If your compressor is still under warranty, it’s usually more economical to replace it. In this scenario, if it’s under warranty, that means your system is less than ten years old and should have a lot more life left in it. This is why I usually recommend replacing just the compressor if it is still under warranty.

How old is your system?

If your home air conditioning system is more than 15 years old, you might want to start considering a more expensive solution. A significant repair, like a compressor replacement, is already expensive enough, and the last thing you want to deal with is to do another major repair next year, and so on. This is why many homeowners opt to replace the outdoor unit and sometimes the indoor unit too.

Carrier AC unit and furnace

Are you planning to move in the future?

There are a few scenarios where it makes the most sense to replace the compressor and not invest in a new system even if the air conditioning system is more than 15 years old. An example would be in a house you are planning to move out of within a year. Usually, a new air conditioner does not increase the value of your home, so you can limit your cost by doing only the minimum of a compressor replacement.

Is the house a rental property?

A good rule of thumb when it comes to a rental property is to assume the tenant doesn’t care about your stuff. This includes the air conditioner. Many tenants will use and abuse the AC by not changing the filter or scheduling routine maintenance etc., which causes systems to fail much sooner than they usually would. Most investors don’t want to overspend on AC, especially when the tenant will turn around and abuse the new system. In this scenario, the goal is to get as much out of the existing system before replacing it to ensure that you are not throwing money away.

What Causes A Compressor To Fail

There are a few reasons an air conditioning compressor can fail over time ranging from age to excessive stress to lack of maintenance. There are more than a dozen ways they can fail, but I will cover the most common ways:

  1. Old age
  2. Lack of maintenance
  3. Restriction in the evap coil
  4. Power surge 

Old age

We have found that the most common reason a compressor fails is due to age. Once a compressor gets around 15 years old, they start getting worn out and eventually fail.

Lack of maintenance

Many people don’t know that lack of maintenance can kill an air conditioning compressor. You might be wondering how? When evaporator and condenser coils get extremely dirty, the AC has a hard time cooling your home. It has to run much longer and harder to get your home to the desired temperature. This puts a lot of extra stress on the compressor, eventually causing it to fail.

The same thing happens when the air filter gets too dirty as well. It is essential to change your filters regularly, or you will put a lot of extra stress on your system, causing the compressor to fail prematurely.

Restriction in the evap coil

When particulates get trapped inside the freon line, it causes a restriction in the evap coil inside your indoor unit, which can cause a compressor to fail. It will block the freon from flowing correctly, forcing the compressor to work harder to move the freon. There is not much you can do to prevent this, but it does happen now and then.

Power Surge

A power surge that takes out a compressor doesn’t occur as much as the others, but it does happen. An AC system is more complex than you would think. There is a lot of electronics inside it to make it work. If an air conditioning system experiences a lot of power influxes, it can cause components to fail, including the compressor. You can add a surge protector to your AC system to reduce the chances of this happening.

If you would like to get an idea of how much a new outdoor air conditioner unit costs, check out our blog post that goes into detail about all your options. If you need an air conditioner repair in Austin, give us a call, and we can help.


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