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David Brown Heating & Cooling, LLC Blog

Does a Dead Compressor Mean You Have to Get a New Central AC?


The short answer to this question is: “sometimes.” 

Of course, that answer needs an explanation, and in this post we’ll look deeper into the choices you have when confronted with a burnt-out compressor. 

Our HVAC experts can answer all of your questions and give you guidance about what to do with your central air conditioning in Dickson, TN when its compressor dies. We can help you find the best and most affordable way forward with your home cooling.

Why a Dead Compressor Is a Serious Issue

The compressor is the literal heart of an air conditioner: it’s the component that causes refrigerant to circulate between the two sets of coils so the AC can move heat out of the home to cool it down. 

The compressor uses an immense amount of power to run, and it’s also an expensive part to replace if it fails. The high cost of a compressor combined with the advanced age of an air conditioner often makes it more cost-effective to replace the entire air conditioner rather than just the compressor. 

The 4 Options for When You Have a Dead Compressor

Replacing the whole AC system is one of four choices you have when your AC’s compressor dies. Looking at all four will give you an idea of which might be best for your case.

1. Replace the Compressor Only

Yes, a compressor is an expensive part to replace. But if it’s still under warranty (usually less than 10 years old), then the cost to replace it in case of failure is far less. We usually recommend a compressor replacement if the unit is still protected by the warranty.

2. Replace the Condenser

You can choose to replace the compressor along with all the outdoor components in the condenser unit. This includes replacing the exhaust fan and the condenser coil as well. This is rarely the best choice because it doesn’t include a new warranty and there is a risk that the new condenser will be a mismatch with the indoor components that are left in place. 

3. Replace the Air Conditioner

Replacing the full air conditioner means putting in a new condenser unit as well as replacing the indoor evaporator coil. The other HVAC components, such as the indoor blower fan, stay the same. This is often the best choice for an air conditioning system that’s no longer under warranty. You’ll receive a new warranty with the replacement and won’t have the worry of a mismatched system. 

4. Replace the HVAC System

You may wish to have a complete re-do of your HVAC system when the compressor fails. You’ll not only have professionals replace the air conditioning components, but also the heating system and air handler. This is an option homeowners sometimes choose when their whole HVAC system is too old. It’s convenient and can save money to have an aging furnace and blower fan replaced along with all the parts of the air conditioning system.

If you aren’t certain about the best path to take, all you have to do is call the David Brown team. We’ll give you honest answers about your AC and what choices are the best match for your current needs and budget.

Call David Brown Heating & Cooling, LLC—“A Name You Can Trust!”

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