AC repair cost and what you should pay
Repairing an HVAC system can no doubt be costly. The price for a repair can vary greatly. More importantly, some brands are more expensive to repair than others. There are various reasons that your unit could need fixing. Some of those reasons are more expensive than others. This article will answer the question: What should it cost? TNA Heating and Cooling hopes it helps you get a better idea of what is a fair and reasonable price for HVAC repairs.
Age of the existing equipment
The age of the unit is important, as some units are so old you cannot get the parts for them. Now this normally does not include the most common parts like blower motor, fan motor, capacitors, contactors. But control boards or mother boards can be hard to replace on an older unit.
Condition of existing equipment
There are some units that are just in such bad condition overall that it just does not make sense to continue to repair them. We have seen units that have been repaired, and patched to a point that the unit just needs to be replaced due to leaks, electrical wires that have been degraded and compressors that have been milked along.
There have been instances that the prior repairs could have been done wrong. While they did work at the time of the repair, they could have damaged other parts that now will need to be replaced. While sometimes you could just not afford to have the unit fixed correctly, it can cause a much more expensive repair down the road.
Uncommon repair and Availability of the parts
When a part breaks that normally doesn’t, then not only is it harder to find but they don’t make a lot of them. This makes them much more expensive. Condenser coils are at the top of the list in expensive/unusual repair.
If a part is not readily available in Las Vegas, this means it has to be found and shipped in. Depending on the company that has it, part cost may be only one of your concerns. How much will they charge for shipping and handling? Not to mention, how quickly will you get the part?
Some units, depending on the manufacturer, will be more expensive to repair as they have to have certain parts that only the manufacturer makes. This can be very costly. For example, we found an AC unit that needed a new blower motor and this motor had to come from the manufacturer. The cost of that motor for us was over $1000.00. That does not include taxes or cost of labor to install. That was how much it was going to cost for us to get the motor needed. It doesn’t happen often but keep in mind this can be a very costly repair if the parts cannot be aftermarket parts.
For the purposes of this discussion we will consider HVAC contractor price that service the Las Vegas Henderson, and North Las Vegas area. All prices here in include the labor and materials together as one fee.
Older systems typically use R22 refrigerant. Though the price of R22 has gone up, there is still plenty to go around. If you do need to have your R22 system recharged, it will cost you between $65 to $125 per pound. The newer systems that use r410a will cost $25 to $80 per pound. The typical system holds 5 to 9 pounds. If your system is completely discharged it is not a good idea to recharge the system without repairing the leak.
Most systems have numerous capacitors. These small seemingly unimportant parts are actually crucial to your system. Without them, your compressor and all of your motors will not work. If the fan motor capacitor is out, the fan motor cannot cool the compressor. Which means that it will over heat and shut off. While it is possible to change out just the capacitor that has quit working, sometimes you can get a deal on replacing all of your capacitors at once. Please keep in mind that changing out the capacitor does not mean that the motor or compressor will not need to be replace later. They are two different parts. Depending on the size and whether or not it is a dual capacitor or a single will greatly affect the price. Capacitors generally range between $97 and $400 installed.
When talking about a contactor it is like discussing a fuse. They get worn out and damaged over time. This part normally will need to be replaced a couple of times during the life of your unit. Some areas of Las Vegas are highly prone to power surges. This can really put a strain on a contactor. Contactors can range between $155 and $440.
Fan motors are very important to your unit. They are what keeps the compressor cool. Without them working, your compressor can over heat and be damaged beyond repair. While most fan motors will run you between $370 and $975, there are units that will need to have manufacturers motors. This will bring the price up. How much, I really cannot say exactly as every unit is different. Be ready to spend about 2 to 3 times more. If the fan blade is bad, plan on spending another $90 to $600 dollars for replacement.
The blower motor is what actually sends the air through the vents. If the blower motor is not working, you will not get hot or cold air out of your vents. On split systems, the blower motor is in your furnace or air handler. Most people do not realize that your air conditioner and furnace actually work together. The blower motor is attached to a blower wheel or as I like to call it a squirrel cage. If the blower wheel is unbalanced, it can damage the blower motor. Most companies will offer you a discount if you change them both out at the same time. If the blower wheel is damaged, it is better to replace the motor at the same time as it will go out soon. However, if the blower motor is out but the wheel is in good condition, you do not need to replace the wheel. A Blower motor normally will run you between $505 and $875 if it is a common motor that needs to be replaced. $890 to $1300 for special order motors. Once again, if your unit takes a manufacturers part, this cost just went up. Blower wheels cost from $170 to $370.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Most of the time if you need to replace a compressor, your unit is older than the normal life expectancy of an air conditioning unit. So you really need to think about whether it makes sense to replace the compressor or just bite the bullet and replace the entire unit. If you have a split system (ac on the ground with heater in the attic, basement, or garage) it is normally not that much more expensive to install a new air conditioner condenser. The reason you would replace the entire unit rather than just replace the compressor, is most of the time the unit is on its last legs and it doesn’t make sense to just replace the compressor when it is so costly. A five-ton compressor will cost between $1600 to $2600. to replace. Installing an all new condensing unit will run barely half again as much as a new compressor.
Condenser Coil Clean
Arguably not a repair, we thought we would mention it still. Keeping coils clean is equally as important as any other repair. Dirty coils cause the unit to use as much as 30% more energy. Not to mention, dirty coils can vastly shorten the life of your compressor. Cleaning the condenser coils is relatively straight forward and most DIY types can handle this themselves. To have a contractor do this plan on spending $100 to $250.
Evaporative coil cleaning
Again, not an actual repair but critically important. Evap coil cleans are a more skilled service. It requires the disassembly of the case and specialty tools and chemicals to remove the buildup. Dirty evaporative coils are also energy hogs and compressor killers. Save as much as 35% on energy cost and have them professionally cleaned for $150 to $350.
Heat exchangers are pretty hard to replace. First of all, by the time most of them crack, the model is no longer sold. Replacement parts are hard to come by. Now some companies will attempt to repair the crack by welding it. This is not something that we suggest. When it comes to heat exchangers if it cracks, we would highly recommend replacing the unit. The health and safety of your family and yourself is more important than saving money. Heat exchanger repairs cost $800 to $2400.
There are 2 types of fuses that an HVAC system can use: High voltage alternating current and low voltage direct current. High voltage fuses will cost you $65 to $135. Low voltage fuses are much less at $15 to $45.
There are quite a few other repairs that an HVAC unit could need. These are just the most common ones. Every company charges different amounts. You should always call around to make sure that the estimate that you are given is a good price. Price shopping will delay your repair but may save you a grip of cash.
Note: Companies that offer a more competitive price are typically willing to quote over the phone.
We recommend regular AC tune-ups and annual service to avoid expensive, surprise repairs.
TNA Heating and Cooling offer a comprehensive service contracts agreement that will help you reduce the cost of repairs to your AC. Service contracts save homeowners as much as 30% on repairs and give you a front of the line pass to expedite your emergency service. In addition to the above you get an added 2 years warranty on all repairs made to your system and 2 free tune ups each year.