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Proudly Serving Yakima, Ellensburg, Cle Elum, and the Surrounding Areas Since 1998


ThermAll Heating, Cooling & Electric Blog

Does a Dead Compressor Mean a Dead AC?


This is a major question that sometimes confronts homeowners. The compressor is the most powerful component in an air conditioning system, the part that consumes the most energy. It’s also essential for the AC to cool the air: without a working compressor, an air conditioning system is nothing more than a large fan. 

Because of the high cost of putting in a replacement compressor, the conventional wisdom is that a dead compressor means the entire AC must be replaced. But is this always true? We’ll investigate deeper in this post and help you with the choice about whether to replace the compressor or the air conditioning system.

The Four Options

When the compressor for your AC burns out, it usually cannot be repaired. Whether it’s more cost-effective to replace the compressor or the air conditioner depends on several factors. But the decision is a bit more complicated, because there are four different options for you at this point.

1. Replace the Compressor

Yes, the compressor has a large price tag that makes getting a new AC a more attractive option. But if the compressor is still under warranty (usually an AC less than 10 years old), then we recommend you have the compressor replaced. You’ll still have to pay for labor, but at least the warranty will cover the high cost of the new compressor. 

2. Replace the Condenser

The condenser is the outdoor cabinet of a split system air conditioner (the standard central AC for homes). It houses the compressor, exhaust fan, and condenser coil. You can choose to have only the condenser replaced, which will come with a new compressor. This option costs less than a full system replacement and it renews much of the AC. However, replacing only the condenser risks a mismatched system that performs poorly and it doesn’t come with a new warranty. We rarely recommend this option.

3. Replace the Air Conditioner

This means replacing both the condenser and the indoor evaporator coil. (You won’t necessarily need to replace the blower). The biggest advantage of this is that you’ll receive a new warranty on your system, giving you a fresh start, and you won’t have to worry about a mismatched system. Your new AC should work better than your old one ever did when it was new. If the compressor isn’t under warranty, we advise taking this option

4. Replace the HVAC System

This is the whole-system approach: not only replacing the air conditioner but also the heater and the blower. If your current heating system is at or beyond its estimated service life, this becomes an attractive choice. Although this option costs the most upfront, having the whole HVAC system replaced at once does save money compared to doing it at different times. If it fits your budget and you’re also ready for a new heating system, you may want to take this route.

Call Us for Help

We can help you with making your decision about air conditioning repair or a new air conditioning installation in Yakima, WA. We’ll give you estimates as well as advice that will steer you toward the best choice for your home.

Call ThermAll Heating & Cooling, Inc: We are “Your Home Comfort Hero!” 

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