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Serving Courtenay, BC and Surrounding Areas

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Serving Courtenay, BC and Surrounding Areas


Temprite Climate Solutions Blog

Is a Dead Compressor the End of the Line for an AC?


You’ve likely heard this bit of conventional wisdom about the compressor in an air conditioning system: 

When the compressor of an AC dies, the whole AC must go with it. A compressor is an expensive piece of equipment, and replacing it is too costly compared to the long-term benefits of getting a new air conditioner.

Like most nuggets of conventional wisdom, there’s some truth to this, but also some myth. A dead compressor in an AC is not an absolute command to have the entire air conditioning system replaced. There are several options a homeowner can consider when the compressor fails, and a complete replacement isn’t always the best. Below we’ll look at the variables involved in what to do when you’ve got an AC with a dead compressor.

Is the compressor under warranty?

This is the first thing to look into when a compressor dies. Most air conditioning systems have a ten-year warranty that covers replacing the compressor if it fails. If your compressor is still under the original warranty, the cost to replace the compressor is much lower. You’ll still have to pay labor costs, but if the result is a compressor that gives your AC another five or more years of service, this is the best route to take.

An important point of caution: the warranty for the compressor may be voided if the AC hasn’t received annual maintenance. This is one reason keeping current with maintenance is so important. Not only does it make it less likely the compressor will fail early, it also keeps the warranty in force to handle an early compressor failure should it occur.

Can you just replace the condenser rather than the whole AC?

Yes, this is an option. You can have the condenser cabinet and all its components replaced at less than the cost of getting a full new AC. This includes replacing the compressor, the condenser coil, and the exhaust fan. We rarely recommend this, however. There are two problems that can come with a condenser-only replacement:

  • It risks a mismatched system where the indoor and outdoor components don’t function well together. This creates a drop in efficiency and numerous repairs.
  • It doesn’t provide you with a new warranty, and that can mean paying for big repairs in the near future.

What about replacing the entire HVAC system?

If you decide it’s best to get an air conditioning replacement because the compressor isn’t under warranty and the AC is already old, you may want to go a step further: replace not only the AC (which means getting a new condenser as well as indoor evaporator coil) but also the heating system and air handler. This is the most expensive option, but it may be the best long-term investment if your heating system is also old and in decline. It’s better to have the HVAC system replaced at one once and save on labor costs and time.

If you’ve got compressor trouble, call us first for air conditioning repair in Parksville, BC. If we find the compressor is dead, we’ll help you make the right choice for your HVAC system’s future.

Schedule service with Temprite Climate Solutions when you need big answers and great work for your air conditioning system. For a job done right, call Temprite!

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