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Elliott-McElwee, Inc. Blog

Is a Dead Compressor Fixable?


The air conditioner’s compressor is the heart or central engine that drives the entire system. It is used to compress the refrigerant your AC uses that cools down air to be blown through your home.

If the compressor burns out then you will need to jump into action to get air conditioning repair in Northfield, NJ. In this blog, we look at the options available to homeowners to fix or replace their AC’s dead compressor.

Is a Repair Possible?

Let’s start here: is a dead compressor something you can repair? The truth is that it depends. In some cases, it may be possible and even reasonable to repair the compressor. Most of the time though, you’re better off investing in a replacement system. Let’s look at your options.

Replace Just the Compressor

If your AC’s compressor is busted but the rest of the system is fully functional, then you may only need to replace the compressor. This could be a good option if you are low on budget and within your original warranty.

Check the AC Warranty

The first thing you should do is check your warranty. Many manufacturers offer 10 years of warranty for the compressor because this component does not go down easy.

Keep in mind that manufacturers expect you to take good care of your AC in order to keep the warranty valid. You will need to get regular, bi-annual maintenance checks on the AC from a professional and qualified service.

Take note that the AC warranty only covers the cost of the equipment, i.e. compressor, in this case. You will need to pay any labor costs for a replacement out of your pocket.

Still, compressors are one of the most expensive components of the AC. If you can get it replaced through your warranty, you will save a bit of money.

If the manufacturer’s warranty has expired or is no longer valid, you have two options: either replace the outdoor unit that houses the compressor, or the replace entire air conditioning system.

Replacing the Outdoor Unit

The large cabinet-like unit of your AC that is kept outdoors houses many important components including the fan, condenser coils, refrigerant, and compressor.

If the compressor is dead and not under warranty then you may want to replace the entire condensing unit. It is less expensive than doing a full AC replacement and will be suitable if you are on a tight budget.

Replacing the Entire Air Conditioner

If the internal components – consisting of the evaporator coils and handler of your AC – are in good order, you can easily get 3 to 5 years out of the system with a replacement of just the outdoor condenser unit.

However, if the evaporator coils are also worn out, you may want to get a complete AC replacement. This can be the best choice to deal with a dead compressor that is no longer under warranty. Replacing both the indoor and outdoor units means that your AC will be matched to offer the best possible efficiency. It also means you will take care of complete AC installation in one step, instead of needing to schedule a second installation for the evaporator coil a few years later.

Contact Elliott-McElwee, Inc. for AC replacement or repairs to ensure that you get the best air conditioning at a great price. Your comfort is our business.

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