Air conditioning systems have a variety of components that work together toprovide you with your home comfort. The thermostat, for example, serves as the “brain” of the system, while the compressor serves as the “heart” of your cooling system.
The compressor is what causes the refrigerant to move through your air conditioner and transfer heat from the inside to the outside. When a compressor fails, the air conditioner essentially fails. This may sound automatically like it means you have to replace your entire air conditioner, but this isn’t always the case!
Your Options with a Compressor Failure
When your compressor fails, you’re left with a few options. Yes, one of them is to replace your entire air conditioner, and we’ll get to that below. But your other options are to replace just the compressor, or to replace the condenser unit (the entire outdoor unit of your air conditioner). Keep reading to see which option is best for your specific situation.
Replacing the Compressor
It seems like this would be the best option, right? When you’re just replacing a component within the air conditioner, it’s easy and cheap. In some situations, it is the best option, but not in all situations.
A question you’ll need to ponder is, is your air conditioner still under warranty? Typically, if it’s only been 10 years or less since you had it installed, and you’ve only ever had it maintained or repaired by trained professionals, then your warranty should still be good.
If this is the case, then replacing the compressor absolutely makes sense. You won’t be financially liable for anything but the labor, and you’ll get your AC system back in working order.
In many cases, however, when a compressor fails it is due to the fact that the AC is old—and past its warranty coverage. Once your air conditioner reaches about 10-15 years of use, it’s nearing the end of its lifespan anyway, so paying for a brand new compressor might be pointless since you may find yourself facing a whole system replacement soon enough as it is.
Replacing the Outdoor Unit
Let’s say that the inside unit of your air conditioner and your system’s ductwork are both in great shape, haven’t required many repairs over the years, and are not that old. Well, then replacing the whole outdoor unit may suit you well.
Remember though, a mismatched condenser and indoor unit can lead to drops in efficiency, so you want to work with a trained professional for this kind of replacement to ensure you’re making the right choice.
Replacing the Entire Air Conditioner
Look at it this way, the compressor is such an important part of your air conditioner that once it fails, your air conditioner is compromised anyway. You’re going to likely deal with efficiency problems and further breakdowns as the years go by after replacing the compressor or the outside unit.
Today’s air conditioners are built with efficiency in mind, plus they use a newer type of refrigerant that is better for the environment. Lastly, they perform better and cost you less in energy bills. Upgrading to a new air conditioner might very well be the right choice for you!