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All Star A/C & Heating Services Blog

True or False: Does a Dead Compressor Mean the AC Must Be Replaced?

compressor-in-ac-unit

The answer is false. Except when it’s true.

No, we don’t mean to confuse you. Like many “true or false” questions, the simple answer doesn’t adequately cover the details. A failed compressor doesn’t always mean that the entire air conditioning system must be replaced. But in most cases, it does.

We’ll explain more below about what a failed compressor can mean for an AC and what options you have when you have a dead compressor on your hands.

The compressor is an expensive part to replace

This is the reason conventional wisdom says it’s better to replace the air conditioner when the compressor fails rather than pay for only a new compressor. The compressor is the component that uses the most power to run, and an AC cannot function without it. Since a compressor is most likely to fail in an aging air conditioner, it makes sense that getting a new AC rather than spending a large amount on a component that will only work for a few years before the rest of the air conditioner fails. 

But when is the situation different?

A compressor under warranty is probably worth replacing

If the compressor fails in an air conditioner that’s still young enough to be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, then getting a new compressor is a much more appealing option. In most situations, you’ll only have to pay for the labor costs to put in the compressor, and you’ll get five or more good years of service from the AC. 

(Important reminder: lack of maintenance for an air conditioner can void its warranty. This is one reason we advise our customers to stay current with maintenance through our Ultimate Savings Agreement.)

Replacing the condenser is rarely recommended

What if you decide to only replace half the air conditioner when the compressor fails? Rather than get a new condenser (the outdoor unit) and a new indoor evaporator coil, you can opt only to replace the condenser. This is less costly than a full AC replacement. We don’t advise this, however. Replacing only the condenser creates a risk of a mismatched system where the indoor and outdoor components don’t work well together and lower system efficiency. Replacing only the condenser doesn’t come with a new warranty either, leaving you without this vital protection. You’ll likely end up paying much more than if you had replaced the entire air conditioner in the first place.

You can choose to replace the AC and the heater

If you’ve decided to replace the entire air conditioning system, you may want to consider replacing the heating system at the same time. This is often a good choice if the heater is around the same age as the air conditioner and has also shown signs of decline. Combining the AC and heater installation streamlines the process and saves you time and money. 

If you’re wondering if it’s time for an AC installation in Houston, TX because of a failed compressor, reach out to our team. We can help you make the best decision for your future comfort. 

Contact All Star A/C & Heating Services: Our integrity is our best, most used tool in our bag.

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