An ac compressor is the part of an air conditioning system that circulates refrigerant necessary for heat exchange between the indoor and outdoor units that make up your air conditioning system.

What does an AC compressor do?

An AC compressor works with other parts of your outdoor unit to pump liquid refrigerant into your indoor unit, where it will evaporate and cool your home. The compressor is located in the outdoor unit, and you can think of it as the “engine” of your air conditioner. A compressor is powered by a motor and is made up of a cylinder and piston. These work together to create pressure, which will pressurize the gaseous refrigerant that is put into your unit initially and send it into the coil, where it will condense into liquid due to heat and flow through your refrigerant lines to your indoor unit.

How much does it cost to repair an AC compressor?

Typically, a home air conditioning compressor costs between $800-$2,800 to replace. The actual parts for a compressor repair range between $400-$1,600, so labor is about 50% of the price on a repair job. Repairing your own unit can be risky and could affect your warranty. Oftentimes finding the right dealer who will get you affordable service is your best option.

Is it worth replacing the compressor of an AC unit?

The compressor is one of the most important and most expensive parts of your AC unit. Without one, your unit will not provide comfortable cooling. Sometimes a new compressor can cost as much as a new system, and therefore it may be worth it to replace the system entirely.

Compressors usually die in older systems, in which case replacing just the compressor will not improve other features like energy efficiency or multi-stage cooling. Like putting a new engine in an old car, a new compressor can get your AC running again, but it’s a shorter term fix in an old unit.

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