The Cost to Replace a Home’s AC Compressor in Florida

February 23, 2021

Did a technician tell you that your AC compressor needs to be replaced?

If so, you may have been shocked at the price they quoted you for the job. Unfortunately, the technician isn’t lying: replacing a compressor is an expensive job.

In Florida, the cost to replace a central air conditioner compressor can cost anywhere from $1,350 to $1,800+. That cost goes up or down based on these factors:

  • Size of the AC: The larger the AC size (in tons), the more the compressor itself costs.
  • The technician you hire: Experienced, high-quality techs may charge more to replace a compressor, but they also do more thorough installation work compared to inexperienced, lesser-quality techs.

We know you probably have more questions about replacing your compressor. In this blog, we’ll explain:

  • What a compressor does
  • Why a compressor is expensive to replace
  • How to know whether you compressor really needs to be replaced
  • Whether you should replace the compressor or the entire AC unit

Want to consult with a trusted AC pro about replacing your compressor? Our technicians will provide honest answers to your questions and give upfront pricing for any AC repair.


What a compressor does

The compressor (located in the outdoor unit) plays an essential role in the cooling process. Its primary job is to circulate refrigerant, the liquid substance that removes heat from your home’s air, throughout the AC system.

A central AC compressor, located in the outdoor unit

If refrigerant is the lifeblood of a central AC system, the compressor is the heart. Simply put, without a compressor, it would be impossible for your AC to cool your home’s air at all.

You can learn about how a compressor works in more detail by reading our blog, “What Does a Central Air Conditioner Compressor Do? A Florida Tech Explains.

Why a compressor is expensive to replace

The reason a compressor is so expensive to replace is because the part itself is expensive, and the job is time consuming (it can take a tech up to 6 hours to replace a compressor).

Homeowners often ask us if a compressor can be repaired instead of replaced. Generally, compressors cannot be repaired by a technician because the compressor itself is encased in a tightly-sealed metal container, which can only be opened with special equipment. That means, the only way to repair a compressor is to send it back to the manufacturer.

How to know whether your compressor needs to be replaced

If you’ve been told you need to replace your compressor, you want to know if the technician is telling the truth.

Well, if your compressor has failed completely, your AC won’t turn on or deliver cool air at all. Additionally, there are early warning signs your compressor may fail soon, which include:

  • Warmer air coming from the vents
  • Diminished airflow coming from the vents
  • Ticking noises coming from the outdoor unit
  • The AC circuit breaker trips frequently

A technician may recommend replacing the compressor if they notice any of the signs above during an AC inspection.

Whether you should replace the compressor or the entire AC

Since compressor replacement is so expensive, it may be more cost effective to just put that money towards a new air conditioner.

For example, the average cost to replace a central air conditioner in Florida is $5,500. Instead of repairing the compressor on your old AC, you could put that money ($1,350 to $1,800+) towards a brand new system.

When you should replace the entire AC

If your AC is 10+ years old, you should consider replacing the entire AC unit because it’s nearing the end of its lifespan anyway. Additionally, if your current AC needs other expensive repairs, it’s probably best just to get a new system instead of paying for a new compressor plus the cost of the other repairs.

Think about it this way: Do you want to put a new engine into a car that’s barely hanging on? A car that’s likely to have other parts break soon anyway? You probably don’t. The same logic applies to your AC.

When it makes sense to just replace the compressor

It typically makes sense to replace just the compressor when your parts warranty (offered by the manufacturer) covers the cost. And, if your AC is young enough, you may even have a labor warranty from the installer that covers the cost of labor. In this case, replacing just the compressor instead of the entire AC unit is a no-brainer.

How to know if your AC is still under warranty

For labor warranties, you’ll have to contact the contractor who installed your AC system. They’ll be able to provide you with the labor warranty info for your AC.

For parts warranties, you’ll typically find the warranty info for your AC on the manufacturer’s website. Just search for your AC unit’s serial and model numbers on the manufacturer’s site and you should find the warranty info for your system. You’ll find the serial and model numbers printed on a panel on your outdoor AC unit:

Serial and model numbers on an outdoor AC unit

Now, keep in mind the parts warranty may not be valid if you have not hired a technician to do annual maintenance on your AC system. That requirement is in many manufacturer’s terms and conditions.

To keep your parts warranty valid, we always suggest our customers sign up for our Cool Club Maintenance Agreement, where we maintain the unit twice a year. Not only does regular maintenance keep your warranty valid, it keeps your AC in great shape and can extend its lifespan.

Need AC service from a trusted Florida pro?

Whether you need a compressor replacement or a new AC system, we can help. When you hire Advanced Air, you can count on honest pricing and 100% satisfaction for every job.

For more information about what to expect when you hire us, visit our AC repair or AC installation service pages.


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