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Gowland's Heating & A/C Blog

Does a Burnt-Out Compressor Mean I Need to Replace the Whole AC?

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There are no air conditioning malfunctions more destructive and potentially expensive to repair than a burnt-out compressor. The compressor’s motor is housed in its casing, and when the motor overheats and the wires fuse, not only is the motor beyond saving, so is the compressor.

Every component in an air conditioning system is important to its performance, but the compressor is the true heart of the AC. It’s where energy is applied to the refrigerant to change it into a high-pressure gas so it can carry out the heat exchange cycle that cools down the interior of a house. A burnt-out compressor means an air conditioning system is now nothing more than a large central fan.

You may have heard that when a compressor burns out, it means the AC is finished. Further AC repair in Covington, LA won’t help, and the cost to replace the compressor is so high that it’s always better to have a new air conditioning system installed. But this isn’t the whole story. When you have a dead compressor in your AC, you have four choices for what to have HVAC technicians do, listed here in rising order of expense:

Replace the compressor only

The first thing to ask: is the compressor under warranty? If so, replace the compressor. If it’s still under warranty, it means the AC system is still young enough that you’ll be able to get more good years of service from it, and you’ll only have to pay for labor fees, not the part itself. This is why you have a warranty in the first place!

Replace the outdoor condenser

This means replacing the compressor along with the condenser coils and the outdoor fan, while leaving the indoor evaporator coils in place. This is the least chosen option because it risks creating a mismatched system with the indoor and outdoor components. It also doesn’t come with a new warranty because it isn’t a full air conditioning system replacement.

Replace the air conditioning system  

To replace the air conditioning system means to replace the outdoor condenser (the items listed above) along with the indoor coil. You don’t have to put in a new air handler. If the compressor is no longer under warranty, this is the most common option because it comes with a new warranty that will protect the system for 10 years and the new system will work at higher efficiency because the indoor and outdoor components will be matched. You also won’t have to worry about replacing an aging indoor coil early. 

Replace the AC, heater, and indoor air handler

This is the true “fresh start,” where you overhaul much of the HVAC system, including a new furnace (gas or electric) and the air handler. This is a good idea if the heater is extremely old and you were thinking of replacing it before the AC gave out. You might also consider replacing the AC and heater with a heat pump, which handles both heating and cooling.

You can rely on our technicians to help you make the best choice. We’re focused on seeing you get the right system, not trying to upsell you—trust us with your comfort. 

Gowland’s Heating & A/C is available at your convenience, not ours. Call us and see how we value “Relationship over Revenue”!

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