Cost of Air Conditioning Repair
Air Conditioning is known for its comfort-inducing cooling elements, but it also aids in air circulation and filtration to reduce the amount of airborne irritants in an enclosed place. For these reasons, it is vital air conditioners maintain optimal performance and cleanliness.
Costs of air conditioning repairs vary based on the type of air conditioning unit, type of repair, amount of labor necessary, and parts needed for replacement.
The average range of air conditioning repair is $175-$300 depending on the repair. Unclogging the filter and rebooting the system typically costs around $175. If cleaning the unit is also part of that repair, the total cost will be approximately $225. Cleaning out the drain and checking the coolant will cost a greater amount ($300).
Hourly Cost of A/C Repair
Trained servicing is typically required to safely repair a highly technical appliance like an A/C unit. Experienced HVAC technicians typically charge a basic service call fee of $80-$300 which includes a general diagnosis of the problem and then any additional costs for parts and labor. An hourly rate can be charged for the technicians labor services at approximately $65-$125/hour. Keep in mind that it may be more cost-effective to replace an old unit instead of paying for repairs as older units can typically require labor-intensive repairs that can add up quickly and may only last for a period of time before more repairs are needed again.
A/C Repair Cost based on Type of Unit
There are five (5) common types of A/C units that each have their own unique parts and related required repair protocol which can vary from easy to difficult, depending on the unit. The types of A/C units are Window A/C, Swamp Cooler, Central Air, Portable A/C, and a Ductless Mini Split.
The following are the average price ranges for repairing each of the five (5) different types of A/C Units:
- Window A/C: $25-$125
- Swamp Cooler: $65-$500
- Central Air: $75-$500
- Portable A/C: $100-$250
- Ductless Mini Split: $750-$900
A/C Unit Repairs Costs
Window A/C units are mounted inside of a window, like the name implies. A common malfunctioning part for this A/C type is the compressor which can typically cost $50-$125 to repair. Thermostat failure also can occur and cost around $25-$85 to fix.
Swamp coolers are not HVAC-style units and are therefore more simple to repair. Average price range for replacement parts are as follows: belts ($65-$85), pads ($125-$500), and the pump ($200-$275).
Central Air, also known as HVAC, is a complex system that requires more expensive parts and experienced labor techniques. Some common repairs are that of clogged drain lines ($75-$200), replacement of faulty thermostat ($75-$500), and refrigerant leaks/charges ($200-$500).
Like the name implies, a portable A/C can be mounted on the wall and then easily transferred to another room if needed. The main repair required for this type of unit is a clogged drain which costs an average of $100-$250.
Ductless Mini Split
This unit type does not contain ducts, as the name suggests. Ductless Mini Split A/C units are typically more costly to repair, with their main repair of the air handler ranging from $750-$900 to fix.
A/C System Repair Costs
Especially in newer A/C units, it is typically advantageous to repair a specific system versus to replace multiple parts. The price of parts can add up quickly, and so if a system fix can overcome the problem, that will be your best course of action.
The most common systems needing repair are: clogged air filter, blower, circuit board, clogged A/C drain, dirty area surrounding unit, refrigerant recharge, expansion valve, capacitor, Freon leak, coil leak, fan motor, and compressor.
The following are the average price ranges for repairing each of the following A/C unit Systems:
- Clogged Air Filter: $75-$195
- Cost is for cleaning or filter change to prevent system overwork or burn-out.
- Blower: $100-$150
- This is a motor that operates the fan blades in the unit to decrease hot air and push cool air out of the unit and into the home/indoor space.
- Circuit Board: $100-$150
- The electronic system that operates the A/C unit that functions to adjust voltage based on certain circumstances.
- Clogged A/C Drain: $100-$150
- Drain lines can be clogged by dirt and other debris which produces mold and mildew that will be experienced by foul smells and humidity indoors.
- Dirty Area Surrounding Unit: $100-$300
- Outdoor HVAC compressor units get clogged by natural debris and need thorough outside and inside cleaning and lubricating.
- Refrigerant Recharge: $125-$300
- Freon is the refrigerant needed to cool hot air and must be refilled after it is lowered from a leak.
- Expansion Valve: $100-$150
- This valve changes Freon into a vapor and then aids in pushing the vaporized coolant into the evaporator for air cooling.
- Capacitor: $200-$250
- This functions with the compressor, outside unit, and the blower to energize your A/C system to start and maintain operation.
- Freon Leak: $200-$1500
- There can be a leak created in the area that contains the cooling refrigerant known as Freon. In order to prevent Freon from being drained, the leak needs to be patched or unit replaced depending on the severity.
- Coil Leak: $250-$2000
- Sometimes the evaporator coil is damaged and creates an area where hot air can leak out instead of transferring successfully to the condenser for cooling.
- Fan Motor: $450-$650
- This fan motor cools the heated refrigerant which is then transferred to the house through the A/C coils.
- Compressor: $600-$1200
- This is the “heart” of the A/C system that functions to increase the temperature of the refrigerant via pressure. If the unit is too old, it would be more effective to replace the compressor entirely at around $1,000-$2,500.
A/C Parts Repair Costs
A/C units function via multiple individual parts working together. Oftentimes replacement of a part or two can restore your unit back to optimal performance.
The following are the average price ranges for replacing each of the following A/C Parts:
- Fuse: $15-$300
- Fuses need to be replaced when they become overloaded and blow out
- Relay: $20-$300
- These devices send voltage to the various parts of the system to initiate the parts to turn on or off.
- Thermostat: $50-$450
- Measures the current indoor temperature; replacement price depends of features available on thermostat
- Condensate pulp: $100-$160
- Removes water from the evaporator coil to prevent condensation from building up and making the system too moist.
- Capacitor: $100-$300
- Contains electrons needed to start and maintain A/C unit operation
- Circuit board: $100-$500
- Blower: $150-$600
- Fan motor: $200-$675
- Expansion valve: $250-$450
- Evaporator coil: $250-$2,000
- Pushes the heat from inside of the house/building into the condenser to undergo cooling
- Compressor: $1,000-$2,500
- This is the “heart” of the A/C system that functions to increase the temperature of the refrigerant via pressure.
Signals of A/C Repairs Needed
- Air will not cool properly
- Turns on and off intermittently
- Abnormally high energy bills
- Leaking water around unit
- Unit will not turn on
- Reduced or zero air flow from vents
- Excessive noise from unit
- Ice on unit, lines, and compressor
- Freon leak causing unit to freeze
- Humidity remains indoors
- Musty smell from high humidity levels
- Building lights dim when unit is started
Cost of Emergency Repair Services
One very common reason to hire an air conditioning technician in an “emergency” is when you are in the midst of the hot and/or humid months of the year. Like many other emergency services, A/C repair needed as soon as possible will cost more money, especially when needed at night, on the weekend, or on a holiday. Anticipate emergency repair services to pay a minimum of $300 and more, depending on what is needed.
Repair vs. Replace
Typically A/C units last at least 10 years with regular maintenance which may include some minor repairs and part replacements. For this reason, newer models usually offer a 10-year warranty for parts, but labor costs will still need to be paid by the home/building owner. On average, it is more cost effective to pay for small A/C repairs versus replacing the entire system.
In the case of an older unit or an A/C that requires some major repairs to function properly, the best course of action would be to purchase a new unit with a new warranty. Brand new A/C units can range in price from $3,750-$10,000. The actual purchase price will depend on a variety of factors such as the size of the house/building, brand and unit type, and additional features such as extended warranty, upgraded duct installation, and a high SEER rating. A SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) rating is in relation to newer models that are designed to operate with high energy efficiency. For example, while models older than 15 years may have a SEER rating of 6 or less, newer models can have much higher ratings like those between 14-18, displaying that they provide considerable energy savings.
Cost of A/C Maintenance
A/C units should receive maintenance procedures one to two times per year to sustain optimal operation. Most A/C unit warranties require repairs to be conducted by a licensed A/C company. The average price range for maintenance services is between $100-$150. A typical HVAC maintenance servicing will include, but is not limited to: inspect and clean indoor and outdoor units, change/clean filters, unit drain cleanups, and inspection of system’s coolant levels.
Home/Building Owner Maintenance suggestions
- Regularly inspect air filter for clogs from debris
- Change/clean the filter if it looks excessively filthy
- Remove natural materials from obstructing outside unit
- Turn off circuit breaker in order to hose off outdoor unit
Additional Costs and Considerations
- HVAC repair is typically not part of homeowner’s insurance coverage
- Inspect the thermostat and circuit breaker first before arranging for professional HVAC repair
- Have your A/C unit model information on-hand to reference when hiring an HVAC repair company
- Get diagnosis and repair of minor issues as soon as possible to avoid more costly repairs, replacements, and energy costs if neglected
- Verify the HVAC company you are hiring have NATE AHRI and EPA 608 certifications
- Find out if the HVAC company that will be servicing your A/C offers financing for larger repairs/replacements, free estimates, and warranties on their parts and/or labor.