How Much Does the Average Home AC Repair Cost?
Did you know that home repair costs increased by over 40% last year? Homeowners spent more than $2,000 on repairs, and costs are expected to increase in 2022. Much of the increases have to do with lagging supply chains and labor shortages.
Have you started noticing your AC unit isn’t working as efficiently anymore? Maybe your energy bills have increased, or you are beginning to notice a loud rattling noise every time it kicks on.
As the temperatures start warming up, it is time to break down an AC repair cost. Since AC units are complex, requiring multiple parts to function properly, there isn’t a clear-cut answer on how much a repair will cost you.
Much of it depends on where you live, your unit, and where the problem lies. Luckily, we will address the most common AC problems, costs, and how you can save money, so keep reading for more information!
AC vs. HVAC
Many homeowners have questions about the difference between an air conditioner and an HVAC unit. HVAC systems include air conditioners. The acronym stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
The main goal of an HVAC unit is adequate heating and cooling while maintaining good indoor air quality control measures. HVACs are also more complex since they can include multiple units.
On the contrary, an air conditioner’s role is to keep a building cool. Typically, they are only used during the warm months of the year, and they help with indoor humidity levels.
Common Air Conditioner Problems
The most common air conditioner problem is a lack of cool air. As you can imagine – warm air blowing out of your vents, or no air at all, defeats the entire purpose of an air conditioner. Other common AC problems include:
- Constantly running
- Not turning on
- Frequently turning on and off
- Ice on coil lines
- Tripped breakers
- Bad smells or noises
Problems with your air conditioner can result from improper installation, lack of regular maintenance, or poor service. You could also have issues with your sensor or thermostat.
Adjusting the sensor by your air conditioner could easily solve the problem. However, more complex scenarios that require a skilled technician include:
- Clogged condenser drains
- Wire corrosion
- Poor electrical connections
- Low or undercharged refrigerant levels
Performing AC checks yourself can be dangerous and result in more problems. If you ever have any questions or concerns about how your AC unit functions, find an AC repair technician nearest you.
AC Repair Cost
Most of your home air conditioner repair costs will stay around a few hundred dollars, which is much cheaper than a new unit (more on that below). The cheapest maintenance and repair is something you can do yourself.
Air filters are part of your AC and HVAC unit and need regular checks and replacements. Simply swapping out your dirty air filter could help:
- Reduce energy bills
- Reduce indoor allergens
- Improve AC unit’s longevity
The air filter type you choose will primarily determine how long it lasts. High-quality air filters likely won’t need to be replaced for three months.
If you have pets, kids, or allergies, you may need to replace them every two months. Luckily, the cost to swap these out is well below $100, and you won’t have to worry about labor fees.
If you have tried replacing your air filter and are still noticing problems, you may end up paying for a refrigerant leak repair, recharge, or even replace breakers. An AC compressor repair cost should also be on your list of possibilities, which may cost a couple of thousand to replace.
Most common professional AC repairs will be much more budget-friendly. Here’s a breakdown of average costs for leaks, circuits, and condenser coils:
- Tripped circuit breaker: maximum $300
- Motor failure: $300
- Coil problems: approximately $1,100
- Leaks: approximately $150 to $300
- Refrigerant lines: approximately $1,000
Many of these prices fluctuate based on replacement versus repair. A refrigerant recharge will cost less than diagnosing and fixing a broken or leaking refrigerant line.
AC Unit Type and Repair Costs
A good measure of how much your AC repairs will be is the type of unit you purchased. A small window or portable AC unit will have lower costs on average because they don’t have as many complex parts or systems.
On the flip side, they also aren’t nearly as powerful or consume as much energy as a central AC or HVAC package. These units cost more but are more efficient. They also have higher repairs.
So, when upgrading to a ductless mini-split system, be prepared for potential higher repair costs because of the complexity and higher labor costs.
DIY AC Repairs
Most times, AC units are not for the DIY at heart. An AC unit includes various components such as:
- Electrical sensors
You could risk injury and more damage by trying to do it yourself. Although labor costs can create a dent in your wallet, it is a better alternative than replacing your breaker panel or entire unit from a costly mistake.
AC Repair vs. Replacement
A home air conditioner repair can quickly tally to more than a replacement if you aren’t paying attention. A quality home AC repair company should provide the pros and cons of a repair versus a replacement. If they don’t – here are some ideas of how much a new AC unit will cost:
- Window AC: approximately $350 to $600
- Central air conditioning: approximately $2,100 to $10,000
The most common AC type is a central unit. These range between $5,000 and $9,000 on average. Smaller homes could get away with much lower costs, but you should always factor in labor.
Labor costs alone can add $1,000 to $2,000 onto your final price tag. While AC units aren’t cheap, neglecting common problems can cause more long-term expenses than simply replacing your unit.
As a rule of thumb, better SEER ratings and larger units will cost more. Yet, if you opt for a new AC unit with higher SEER ratings, you’ll save more money on your monthly energy bills.
If your AC unit reaches 15 years, it may be time for a new one. Here are some other common signs of a new home air conditioner or HVAC unit:
- Higher energy bills
- Inefficient cooling systems (e.g., warm rooms)
- Frequent repairs or breakdowns
- Units that use freon
A simple inspection can alert you to problems with your HVAC or AC unit that are cause for a replacement versus repair. For example, HVAC experts can check for freon in your refrigerant lines and alert you to newer (and more efficient) technology on the market.
Lowering Cost of AC Repair
You can lower the costs of a home air conditioner repair through high-quality products, proper installation, and regular maintenance. First, do your research.
A larger air conditioner is not necessarily more cost-friendly. It can shut on and off frequently, raising energy expenses and inadequately cooling your home. Second, look at how it rates on energy efficiency scales.
Energy Star air conditioners and high SEER ratings will cost more but reduce monthly energy bills. You want to factor that into your total expenditures to save on repairs later.
Lastly, when repairs do arise, you need a team of experts you can trust. Choosing the cheapest repair company won’t provide the lowest costs in the long term.
Unqualified individuals could cause more damage, void insurance, and reduce the lifespan of your AC unit. It may seem counterintuitive, but paying more money on a reputable AC technician can save you added costs down the road. So – how do you know which AC technician to choose?
- Read online reviews
- Ask around
- Review their website
- Ask about licensing
- Ask about insurance
- Check where they are located
- Ask about warranties
- Compare multiple quotes
- Get your quote in writing
One of the most important things you can do is get more than one quote. It helps to ask a few companies and compare pricing, experience, and location. An air conditioning repair cost can add up, and you want to ensure the job is done right the first time to avoid the headache and hassle of finding a new company.
Find Your Next AC Repair Technician
Have you wondered what the average AC repair cost is? You may have been surprised to find out that it can range from under $100 to well over $1,000. After a decade or two, you are likely better off replacing your unit versus repairing it.
Yet, a qualified AC repair technician is your best bet on saving money, improving energy efficiency, and boosting the longevity of your unit. For help getting started, check out our website for free quotes!
At HVAC Service Cost, we compile lists within seconds of qualified HVAC technicians nearest you!