How Long Does It Take To Replace An AC Compressor?
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AC Compressor Replacement Guide: Options & Timeframe

How Long Does It Take To Replace An AC Compressor?

The heart of a central air conditioning system or heat pump is the compressor in the outdoor unit. It’s what allows the transfer of heat to keep your house in Fort Wayne, Decatur, Angola, Indianapolis, Greenwood, and Mishawaka, IN cool (and warm if you have a heat pump). It’s also a part of the system that can fail because of the stress it goes through. Unfortunately, replacing an AC compressor is a time consuming and expensive repair. As a result, Masters Heating & Cooling is often asked whether it makes more sense just to buy a new air conditioner/heat pump.

The Answer Is Seldom A Simple One

One reason why it’s complicated is because replacing the compressor is a complex job for HVAC technicians. It entails removing and disposing of any remaining refrigerant, disconnecting and removing the old compressor, installing the new one with proper fittings, and recharging with refrigerant. Add it all up and it typically takes four to six hours.

Factors To Consider

Now that you understand the complexity of the job, it’s time to move on and answer some important questions to determine the best course of action:

  • How old is the AC unit/heat pump?
  • Is it still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty?
  • Do you have a homeowner’s warranty or other form of extended warranty?

Let’s take a bit of a closer look at each of those issues and how they can affect your decision.


Replacing the AC compressor makes more sense if the unit is less than 10 years old. The exception to that rule would be an AC unit with a history of problems and repairs.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

Most leading brands will have a 10-year warranty on the compressor. Basic units might be only five years while some premium brand compressors carry a lifetime warranty. NOTE: These warranties typically do NOT cover labor costs which are significant for this job.

Homeowner’s Warranty

These usually require doing business with a specific HVAC contractor and often will NOT pay for OEM parts so make sure you understand what you are receiving. Also remember, most of these warranties require you to pay for the repair upfront then submit a claim and wait for payment from the warranty company.

Let’s Talk Bottom Line

To be very clear, this article is no place for cost estimates because every AC compressor replacement is unique, but there are some general parameters. Depending on the size (tonnage rating) of your air conditioning system or heat pump, the replacement compressor can cost between $1,200 and nearly $3,000. Again, this does not include the extensive labor we mentioned earlier.

An Important Reminder

The best way to avoid this expensive repair is to take care of your air conditioner or heat pump. There’s a good reason many compressors are guaranteed for 10 years or longer. With annual maintenance and tune-ups, catastrophic AC compressor breakdowns are much less likely.

Helping You Make A Decision

Masters Heating & Air Conditioning cannot decide if it makes sense to replace your AC compressor or if buying a new AC unit for your Fort Wayne, Decatur, Angola, Indianapolis, Greenwood, or Mishawaka, IN home is the better choice. However, our pros will give you the important information so you can make an educated decision for yourself. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more great information.

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