HVAC Repair Costs: What to Expect

hvac repair
Whether it is at the height of summer or the depths of winter, an unexpected HVAC failure is never a welcome surprise. No one wants to be shelling out big bucks on an expensive HVAC repair bill when they'd rather be spending on the annual vacation or Christmas gifts for family and friends. To make matters worse, many homeowners have no frame of reference for estimating the cost of a repair. Is this going to cost a couple day's pay or are you in for more serious financial pain? How can you start to understand the difference between major and minor HVAC repairs? Don't worry, we can help.

Typical HVAC Repair Costs by Hour

Obviously, when an expensive component goes out, you're going to have to pay for that. But what is the HVAC repair cost for the labor to get that new part back into your system and working? How much is the average company going to charge to inspect your unit and figure out that part was bad in the first place? In general, the average HVAC repair rate in the United States is $85 - $150 per hour. The key criteria for narrowing that down even further your region and the complexity of your HVAC system. Do you like in an expensive place like New York or San Francisco? Your costs are going to go up. Do you have a basic air conditioner and simple gas furnace? Your costs could go down.

Holidays Can Hurt

Those average HVAC repair costs are all fine and good, but don't forget that an emergency repair is going to drive that up. What is considered an emergency repair? If your HVAC pro has to come out late at night, on the weekends, or on a holiday, they're going to charge you for an emergency repair.  Unfortunately, there is really no way to defray this cost, since you can't put off a furnace repair when it's 10 degrees outside on Christmas Eve just to save a couple bucks In short, expect an emergency HVAC repair to be high regardless of where you live.

Typical HVAC Repair Costs by Severity

Simple Repairs

A minor HVAC repair is going to result in the smallest bill. What does that typically consist of? When we talk about simple repairs we're talking about things like flushing a condensate drain, cleaning a condenser coil, checking refrigerant levels, and so forth. These typically run somewhere between $100 and $175.

Basic Repairs

A basic HVAC repair is something like replacing a circuit board in an air handler or charging a unit with R-410A refrigerant. These are relatively straightforward jobs, but the procedures or components are more costly than you would find in a simple repair. These can range from $285 to $500.

Complicated Repairs

Complicated repairs are the ones that you really dread. This a cracked heat exchanger that has to be replaced, an expensive blower motor that burned out, or a dead two-stage condenser compressor. In these cases, it is often a toss up as to whether you should have the whole unit repaired or just replaced entirely. When your equipment is on the older side, it's definitely time to consider a new system. Costs of a complicated HVAC repair range from $750 to $1,500 or more.

HVAC Repair Breakdowns by System

Average Air Conditioner Repair Prices

  • Drain Clearing and Flush: This is very simple. In fact, it's so simple that you can probably do it yourself. If not, $85 to $225.
  • Drain Tube Replacement: As above, you can probably fix this. It's just pipe. Or it will cost $100 to $200.
  • Circuit Breaker/Relay Replacement: $85 to $325.
  • Capacitor and Contactor Replacement: $125 to $375.
  • Circuit Board Replacement: While these can be simple to replace, the cost is going to depend on the economy, or lack thereof, of your unit. $125 to $625.
  • Fan Motor Replacement: You need one of these. $250 to $800.
  • Drain Pan and Lineset Replacement: Are these the same thing? Not really. But they do cost about the same. $200 to $700 or so.
  • Compressor Replacement: The compressor is the heart of an air conditioner or heat pump. You can't do much without it. $1,250 to $2,500.
  • Refrigerant Leak Repair/Recharging: The critical point here is how much refrigerant is left in your system when you figure out it's leaking. Which is why the cost of this repair can range from $175 to over $600.
  • Coil Replacement: When you have a compressor than needs to have its coil replaced, you need to ask yourself it will be cheaper (or not) long term to get a new unit. $1,500 to $3,000.
  • Total Replacement: The inevitable nuclear option is the most expensive. Depending on where you live and what you need. , this can cost from $1,500 to $8,000 or more. Ouch.

Average Furnace Repair Prices

  • Igniter Replacement: Fairly simple. $100 to $300.
  • Flame Sensor Replacement: Happens all the time. $100 to $200.
  • Gas Valve/Burner Cleaning or Replacement: The gas valves and burners on a furnace are critical to proper function. Cleaning will average $100 to $300. As you might expect, replacement is more expensive, and can range drastically from $100 to $1,000 depending precisely on what you need.
  • Oil Valve/Burner Cleaning or Replacement: Similar to above, but more expensive. Cleaning is $200 to $400. Replacement is $600 to $1,000.
  • Heat Exchanger Replacement: A cracked heat exchanger simply has to go. They're incredibly unsafe. These range from $800 to $1,500.
  • Total Replacement: A complete replacement of your furnace is going to be an expensive job, but sometimes it is more cost effective than continually repairing a busted heater. Between $2,000 and $7000 is average.

Is Your Next Repair Too Expensive?

Repairing a reasonably new HVAC system can definitely be worth it in the long run. However, there does come a time when you could end up paying more in repairs than you would have to pay for a completely brand new unit. Particularly if you buy that brand new unit from a reputable online dealer with low, low prices. You know, like us! Would you like to get a price on a great system to replace your ailing furnace or air conditioner? Call us today at 270-575-9595. You can also reach out to us directly here, or drop your question in the comments below!
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