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Michall Daimion Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

When an AC’s Compressor Dies, Does the AC Have to Be Replaced?


If you’re reading this because the compressor in your home’s air conditioning system has burnt out, we do have to be honest that this is not great news. The compressor is the heart of an air conditioning system, almost literally because it causes refrigerant to circulate through the rest of the air conditioner and carry out the heat exchange cycle that cools your house. The compressor consumes the most amount of electricity of any component in the AC (and often all the appliances in your house), and when it fails, it may mean the entire AC is finished.

But is this always true? You may have heard that “dead compressor = finished air conditioner.” There is some truth to this. There are also exceptions. We’ll take a look at four different steps you can take when AC repair in West Chester, PA won’t bring back a compressor.

Replace the compressor

Why not only replace the part that died? Yes, this is feasible. The difficulty is the cost of replacing the compressor, and that’s one of the reasons people often opt to replace the AC instead. Compressor failure is most likely to occur in an old air conditioner that’s ready for a replacement anyway. 

However, there is a situation where replacing the compressor is the best step: if the compressor is still under warranty. If your AC is under 10 years old and the compressor dies, the warranty will likely cover the cost of putting in a new one.

Replace the condenser unit

I.e. replace the outdoor cabinet. This cabinet contains the compressor, the condenser coil, and the exhaust fan. This is less expensive than a full AC replacement, but few people choose this option because it doesn’t come with a new warranty and it can create a mismatch between the indoor and outdoor components that damage system efficiency.

Replace the condenser and the indoor evaporator coil

In other words, replace the whole air conditioner. You don’t need to replace other parts in the HVAC cabinet like the blower or the heater, only the evaporator coil. This is often the best choice for an older air conditioner because it comes with a brand new warranty and there’s no danger of a system mismatch. If the compressor is no longer under warranty, this is likely the best option to pick.

Replace the whole HVAC system

You might look at the failed compressor as an opportunity to make a major overhaul to the HVAC system. This means also replacing the heating system (usually a furnace) and the blower. This is, of course, the most expensive choice, but it may make sense if you have a heating system that’s also up in the age range when it’s ready for a replacement. Having the entire HVAC system replaced at one time is more cost-effective than in parts. If you think your HVAC system is getting ragged and unreliable, this might be the best choice. 

Unsure what to do? No worries! Call our team and we’ll help you with your different options and then do the work you need.

Michall Daimion Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. has been the Main Line’s Premier Service Provider since 1976. Consult with us when you need a new air conditioning system.

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