How much does it cost to replace a central A/C compressor in Kansas City?

Did your tech say you need a new AC compressor? If so, the first thing on your mind is probably price.

Well, the cost to replace a central AC compressor in Kansas City ranges from $1,000 to $2,500+.

We know. That’s a pretty hefty price tag.

Naturally, you’re probably wondering…

  1. “What does an AC compressor do?”
  2. “Can an AC compressor be repaired?”
  3. “Why is it so expensive to replace an AC compressor?”
  4. “Should I replace the compressor or my whole AC?”

We’ll answer those questions in this article. Let’s start with what a compressor does…

Want an honest estimate for a new compressor? Just give us a call or schedule online!

Question #1: “What does an AC compressor do?”

An air conditioner compressor is basically a pump that moves refrigerant (the liquid/gas that cools your home’s air) from the outside unit to the indoor unit in a continuous cycle.

A compressor, found in the outdoor unit of your AC system

The bottom line: Without a compressor, your AC system can’t cool your home’s warm air.

Unfortunately, over time (10+ years) compressors go bad due to normal wear and tear. Compressors can also go bad because of…

  • Contact with air, moisture or dirt
  • Higher-than-normal amounts of heat and pressure
  • Electrical hazards

So if your compressor goes bad, you’ll notice symptoms like…

  • Warm air coming from your vents (while your AC is running)
  • A rattling noise coming from your outdoor unit
  • A sweet, chloroform scent around the outdoor unit (which is a sign of a refrigerant leak)
  • Your AC is continuously tripping the circuit breaker

Question #2: “Can an AC compressor be repaired?”

If you’ve been told you have a busted compressor, you’re most likely wondering if it can be repaired, as it’s often cheaper to repair a broken part rather than replace it altogether.

Unfortunately, if the issue is with the compressor itself (and not any of the surrounding components in your AC system), the answer is usually no: a compressor can’t be repaired.

The reason it can’t be repaired is this: Compressors are hermetically sealed, meaning techs can’t open the compressor to fix the issue out in the field. Doing so would ruin the compressor altogether.

So if you have a faulty compressor, the bottom line is you’ll need to have it replaced.

Question #3: “Why is it so expensive to replace an AC compressor?”

A compressor is expensive because the part itself is expensive, plus it takes a long time to install (usually 4–5 hours).

Additionally, the cost of a compressor can vary depending on the following factors:

1. The number of stages a compressor has: The more stages a compressor has, the more expensive it will be:

  • 1-stage compressor (least expensive)
  • 2-stage compressor (mid-priced)
  • Variable or multi-speed (most expensive)

Two-stage and variable-speed compressors cost more, but they also give you added benefits like…

  • More even cooling (no hot/cold spots in your home)
  • Lower indoor humidity levels
  • Lower monthly energy bills


Note: If you’re thinking of upgrading your single-stage AC to a 2-stage AC, you may also need to upgrade your indoor unit because mismatched systems (for example, a 2-stage compressor with a single-speed indoor blower motor) don’t work well together.


2. The size of your AC: The bigger your AC (which is measured in tons), the more expensive the compressor will be.

3. Whether or not your AC warranty covers the compressor: Since the compressor is such a vital and expensive part, most AC manufacturer warranties will cover the compressor for 10 years (or more, if you purchased an extended warranty).

To see if your warranty will cover the compressor, find your AC model number and then contact the manufacturer or the contractor who installed your air conditioning system.

4. The contractor you hire: The more experienced the contractor, the more they’ll likely charge to replace your compressor. But, that will often mean they’ll do a better replacement job, which will save you money and hassle down the road.

To find an experienced contractor, make sure…

  • They have been in business for at least 10 years
  • They contractor is licensed and insured
  • They have good online customer reviews

Question #4: “Should I replace the compressor or my whole AC?”

It all depends on the age of your AC system…

If your compressor is 1 to 3 years old, replace the compressor

Since your AC is still pretty new, and your compressor is most likely covered under warranty, it probably makes more sense to just replace the compressor.

If your compressor is 3 to 10 years old, answer these questions:

  • Does your AC break down and need constant repairs frequently?
  • Are your cooling bills higher than they used to be?
  • Does your home feel increasingly uncomfortable?

If you answered “yes” to those questions, then it may make more sense to replace your whole AC instead of just the compressor.

If your compressor is 10+ years old, replace the whole AC system

ACs in Kansas City typically last 15 years maximum, which means in under 5 years you’ll likely need to replace yours. If your air conditioner is already over 10 years old, replacing the whole system instead of just the compressor is a better use of your money.

Need a new compressor for your Kansas City home?

We’ll send over one of our trusted and trained techs to give you a honest and fair quote for a new compressor.