Your air conditioner has gone on the fritz, and the repair person informed you that you need a new air compressor to make the unit work correctly. A new compressor can cost you between $600 to $1,200 if your air compressor is under warranty and $1,300-$2,500 if it is not. You can also expect to pay around $100 to $150 for labor. The air compressor is an essential part of your HVAC system.

How an Air Compressor Works

An air conditioner works by using an air circulation system inside the house and a condenser unit outside of the house. The circulation system pulls in air and filters out dust, impurities, and moisture.

The dry air goes into the evaporator coils, which are filled with refrigerant. The refrigerant and the coils absorb the heat.

The warm refrigerant is pumped outside to the condenser, releasing the heat into the air.

The refrigerant needs to be in a high-temperature, high-pressure form to release the heat the refrigerant has absorbed. The compressor forces the molecules in the refrigerant together. This process raises the refrigerant’s temperature and pressure.

The heat from the high-temperature refrigerant is carried outdoors to be released through the condenser. An air conditioner will not work without the compressor, and an AC system must have the proper amount of refrigerant for the compressor to work.

What causes an air compressor to break?

It is important to have maintenance performed on your compressor regularly by an HVAC specialist. They can replenish the refrigerant if it is needed.

When a compressor does not get enough refrigerant, it can overheat. When a compressor overheats, it will cause the suction gas temperature to increase. The compressor windings will never have a chance to cool when the inlet of the compressor is very hot. The winding installation will become overheated, and that will cause it to break down.


When moisture or oxidation gets into a cooling system, it can cause the oil to become acidic. Acid can destroy a compressor’s windings. An improperly installed heat pumping system may allow contaminants to get into the system. The inside of the refrigerant lines must be kept clean during installation.

Incorrectly Sized Split System

The indoor coil in a compressor needs to match the outside coil. If the inside coil is undersized, the compressor may become backed up. This will cause the entire air conditioning system to fail. Your air conditioner will come with a manual that will tell the HVAC technicians what size to use.

Poor Installation

According to Downtown Air and Heat, HVAC technology is very intrinsic work. You should never do it yourself or hire a random handyman. Poor installation is the number one reason HVAC systems and the compressors they rely on fail.

A trained and licensed HVAC specialist will make sure that the duct system is compatible with the air conditioner. They will have years of experience in securing everything in an air conditioning system properly. They will be able to tell when piping is not suited for a system, and they will know what small details to look for when evaluating potential problems with your system.

An air conditioner is a necessity in Florida. When an AC unit breaks, it can cause health problems. Taking good care of your HVAC system will ensure that your home is a comfortable place.

Dominic Wong

Dominic Wong, holding a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, has 20 years of experience in the home appliance sector. He joined our website as a freelancer in 20119, sharing his deep understanding of appliance functionality, energy efficiency, and consumer trends. Previously, Dominic worked in appliance design and testing. His background also includes roles in product development and consumer research. An advocate for sustainable technology, he enjoys mountain biking and experimenting with smart home gadgets in his spare time.

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