If you have a broken air conditioner, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost to fix it.
In Colorado, the cost to repair an air conditioner ranges from $129 to $4,600.
After seeing those prices, your next question is probably, “Why does the price for a repair vary so much?”
Well, the simple reason is that some repairs are more expensive than others. We’ve seen repairs that cost just over a hundred dollars and others that cost well into the thousands.
Without a technician visiting your home and inspecting your AC to find the problem, it’s hard to say what your repair will cost you. That said, we’ll share some general info to give you a better idea of what you could pay for a repair.
The cost of an air conditioner repair depends on the following factors:
- The Diagnostic/Service Fee
- The Type of Repair Your AC Needs
- Whether or Not Your Warranty Is Valid
- The Contractor You Hire
Let’s take a look at each of these factors in more detail.
Cost Factor #1: The Diagnostic/Service Fee
Most HVAC companies charge a diagnostic fee (also called a “service fee” or “trip charge”), which is the cost to visit your home and find the cause of the AC problem.
A diagnostic fee typically ranges from $100 to $250, depending on the contractor. Many contractors have higher diagnostic fees if the repair call is after normal workday hours.
Why Do HVAC Companies Charge a Diagnostic Fee?
During a diagnostic, a technician will test parts and perform a thorough examination of the system to find the root of the problem. A diagnostic usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
Because these preliminary tests require time and effort (plus gas to send a van to your home), most HVAC companies have a fee in place to account for their technician’s time.
Cost Factor #2: The Type of Repair Your AC Needs
The biggest factor that determines what you’ll pay for an AC repair is what’s wrong with your system.
Generally speaking, the more serious the problem, the more expensive the repair will be.
Minor repairs usually cost less because they are not time-consuming and require inexpensive replacement parts. On the other hand, serious repairs require more time, effort and expensive replacement parts to fix, which raises the cost of the repair.
Some examples of complex, expensive repairs include:
- Repairing leaking refrigerant lines
- Fixing significant electrical issues
- Replacing the evaporator coil
- Replacing a broken compressor
Expensive repairs can cost almost as much as replacing your system entirely, which means you’ll need to consult with your technician to determine if it’s more cost-effective to install a new system or pay for the repair.
Cost Factor #3: Whether or Not Your Warranty Is Valid
Your AC likely has a parts warranty, and possibly a labor warranty as well. If your warranties are still valid, you may not have to pay as much for a repair.
Let’s look at both of those warranties in more detail.
When you (or the previous homeowner) first purchased your AC system, it probably came with a limited parts warranty. This warranty is provided by the manufacturer to cover the cost of expensive replacement parts if the AC breaks down within the warranty timeframe (usually 5 to 10 years).
However, the manufacturer may not honor the parts warranty if you don’t follow certain requirements established in the original warranty.
For example, you could accidentally void your parts warranty if…
- You didn’t register your AC system with the manufacturer when it was first installed (usually within 90 days)
- A certified professional did not perform annual maintenance on your AC
- A technician used replacement parts that are not approved by the manufacturer
To find out if your parts warranty is still valid and what parts are covered, contact the manufacturer of your system (Carrier, Lennox, etc.). The contractor you hire for the repair can also help you find this info.
When your AC was first installed, the contractor who installed it may have offered a limited labor warranty. This warranty covers the cost of labor for a repair (but not usually the replacement part). A labor warranty generally lasts anywhere from 6 months to 2 years from the day your system was installed.
To find out how long the labor warranty lasts on your AC system, contact the company that installed it and they can provide you with the labor warranty info.
Cost Factor #4: The Contractor You Hire
As a general rule of thumb, more experienced contractors charge more for their repair services. That said, they do better work than inexperienced or disreputable contractors.
When it comes to your AC repair, it’s best to invest in a high-quality, experienced contractor who will do the job correctly and thoroughly. It’s less expensive in the long run to pay for high-quality service than to pay for the same repair twice because it wasn’t done correctly the first time.
- To find a high-quality HVAC company, we recommend finding one that:
- Is licensed and insured
- Offers guarantees and warranties on repair services