Search thousands of topics on CostHelper

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports weddings
CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Electrical, HVAC & Energy Efficiency > Repairing an Air Conditioning Condenser

Repairing an Air Conditioning Condenser Cost

How Much Does Repairing an Air Conditioning Condenser Cost?

Type of RepairCost and What is Included
Service Visit Hiring an HVAC technician to repair a condenser usually costs $100-$500 for fairly basic repairs.
Do-It-Yourself Many basic condenser repairs like replacing a fuse or capacitor or cleaning a condenser require only basic skills, with parts usually running $10-$25.
Major Repairs If major components are broken, it may require replacing the condenser, which can run up to $2,000. If the repairs cost more than half of an entire AC system and the system is getting old, many HVAC firms recommend replacing the system.

The condenser is the part of a central air conditioning system that's outside a home and makes a loud whirring sound when the fan is running. Sometimes during hot weather, a condenser can be the first part of a central air conditioning system to break down. When a central air conditioning system appears to run, but the air is not getting cooler, the problem may be with the condenser.

Typical costs:

  • Residential service calls to repair an air conditioning condenser usually cost $100-$500, depending on the cause of the problem and local wages. Basic repairs can include cleaning the condenser, replacing a fuse, replacing a capacitor, or troubleshooting electronics.
  • Many basic repairs can be done by someone with basic do-it-yourself skills. If central air is running weakly and the condenser has not been maintained in years, it may just need a good cleaning, using a hose, a wet dry vacuum, and, preferably, a can of condenser cleaner ($5-$10).
  • If a condenser doesn't start and doesn't make any noise when it tries to start, it could be that the fuse is blown or the AC drain line is clogged. Fuses can be tested with a digital multimeter ($10-$20+), and replacements can be found at hardware stores ($10-$25). AC drain lines can be cleared using stiff, thin brush and a wet/dry vacuum.
  • If a condenser doesn't start and makes a faint humming sound but doesn't "fire up," turn it off right away to avoid burning out the fan motor. Replacing a capacitor can be done with someone with basic do-it-yourself electrical skills, and replacement capacitors can be found for $11-$20 at many hardware stores.
  • If you turn of the condenser and can't manually turn the fan with a screwdriver, it may be because the fan is stiff or the fan motor needs to be replaced. Lubricants like WD-40 can be bought for $4-$10. Replacing a fan motor requires more skill, but can be done by experienced do-it-yourselfers.
  • More complicated (and less common) fixes to a condenser can be due to a rodent nesting inside the electronics or chewing on cables, or a refrigerant leak. Service calls to fix electronics can run $200-$500. If the problem is larger, like the condenser itself is broken, many HVAC firms recommend replacing the whole condenser (up to $2,000+). If the condenser repair costs more than half the cost of the whole system, it may be time to replace the central air conditioning system ($3,500-$7,000+).
Related articles: Central Air Conditioner, Ductwork, Ductless Air Conditioner, Room Air Conditioner

What should be included:
  • During an air conditioning repair service call, a technician should review and test components to determine what is at fault. They may test fuses and wire terminals with a digital multimeter or voltmeter, and inspect the condenser, hoses, and wires. Often, they will clean the condenser cavity if debris buildup is suspected.
  • Technicians usually carry equipment for basic electronic repairs which may include replacing damaged or chewed wiring, or replacing damaged or brittle fasteners.
Additional costs:
  • For do-it-yourselfers, a can of condenser cleaner costs $5-$10.
  • A ratchet set can run $25-$100+, though basic condenser repair usually requires only 1/4 and 5/16 inch sockets. Basic wet/dry vacuums start at $50-$80.
  • Replacement condenser fuses run $10-$25, and replacement capacitors usually cost $10-$20.
  • An air conditioner removes heat from a house by moving hot refrigerant vapor outside, where the heat can be blown away by a condenser's fan. Buildup of dirt and leaves inside the condenser can decrease the airflow, making it less effective, stressing the system, and wasting electricity.
  • Proper cleaning of a condenser can extend the life of the system, make the system more energy-efficient, and reduce the chance of the system failing during a heat wave, when it's most difficult (and most expensive) to hire a service technician. Amplify DIY provide steps to clean a condenser[1] . It's a good idea to plan your condenser maintenance in the spring or early summer.
  • YouTube channels like Word of Advice TV[2] provide instructions for basic repairs like clearing an AC drain line, cleaning a condenser, or replacing a fuse or capacitor.
Shopping for repairing an air conditioning condenser:
  • When an air conditioning system fails, most experts recommend first contacting the HVAC company that originally installed the system. They should be familiar with the components involved and should be more likely to have compatible replacement parts on hand.
  • If contacting a different firm or if the original installer is unavailable, make a note of the manufacturer and ask if the firm is familiar with those brands and models.
post Post    
CostHelper News

7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget
End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts

What People Are Paying - Recent Comments


Comment On Your Experience With Repairing an Air Conditioning Condenser
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  *
Type of Repair: Contractor: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.

External Resources:
More Home and Garden Topics
Check Out All Costs for Home and Garden How Much Do Replacement Windows Cost? How Much Does a Storm Shelter Cost? How Much Does Heating Oil Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on

Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
UTI urgent care visit
Paid: 147.00
Visit was $135. Antibiotics was $12. Waiting for four hours in the waiting room and the visit was quick... [more]
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment Cost
Spanish Medical Interpreter
Paid: 150.00
I worked with SynShyne Services out of Monroe, NC. They were so worth the price! Professional, friendly, accurate, great attitude and always on time. I recieved an itemized report after every contact and a user friendly invoice weekly... [more]
-Gregory Richardson
Interpreter Cost
Paid: 495.00
This is how much I am paying... [more]
-Calista Christian
Dental Admission Test Cost
Paid: 48.00
... [more]
-Not that BB
Shingles Vaccine Cost
Skin prick allergy test
Paid: 573.00
Took my 9 yr. old in after an allergic reaction to eggs. Several panels for nuts, fish & top 8 allergens. Sure enough, egg came up. Got a script for epinephrine and left... [more]
-D’s mom
Allergy Testing Cost
Estimate for Teeth Cleaning Cat
Paid: 0.00
13 year old cat …teeth extractions, X-rays, blood work, anesthetic, cleaning estimate 2 to 3 thousand... [more]
Cat Teeth Cleaning Cost