How Much Does AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost?
An evaporator coil is a crucial component of residential and commercial air-conditioning units and refrigeration systems, but it won’t last forever. The average evaporator coil replacement cost is $1,325, falling within a typical range of $600 to $2,000.
- The typical cost to replace an evaporator coil in an AC system falls between $600 and $2,000, with a national average cost of $1,325.
- The exact cost will depend on a number of factors, including the unit size and location, the type and brand of evaporator coil, the type of refrigerant, the unit’s efficiency rating, and the cost of labor.
- Some common signs that an evaporator coil needs to be replaced include warm air coming from the vents, a unit that’s not turning on or that’s frequently stopping and starting, unusual sounds, leaks, dust or soot buildup, and corrosion.
- As with most repairs on an HVAC system, it’s not recommended for a homeowner to replace an evaporator coil themselves; instead, it’s advisable to hire a licensed professional to complete the job.
When an air conditioner or refrigeration system begins to malfunction, homeowners may experience a range of inconveniences and frustrations. These can include discomfort from rising indoor temperatures, higher energy bills from increased energy consumption, and the annoyance of frequent breakdowns. Poor indoor air quality, noisy operation, refrigerant leaks, and a shortened system lifespan can make the situation even more frustrating. In many cases, a faulty evaporator coil is to blame, and replacement is the best solution. But how much does an evaporator coil replacement cost?
The answer depends on a variety of factors. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, there is a typical replacement cost range of $600 to $2,000, with several variables that come into play. From AC unit size to local labor costs and the potential for additional unit repairs, homeowners may find themselves paying close to the national average of $1,325 or several hundred dollars more or less.
This guide will help homeowners learn more about estimating evaporator coil replacement costs, saving money on installation, and finding the best professionals for the job.
Factors in Calculating AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost
There are several factors that come into play when homeowners are estimating AC evaporator coil replacement cost. Each job presents unique considerations, such as the size of the AC unit, the brand of the evaporator coil, and the type of refrigerant used.
Additionally, local averages can vary from the national average replacement cost of $1,325 due to cost fluctuations in labor and materials. Homeowners will want to focus on the following factors to properly estimate their budget for replacing an evaporator coil.
AC Unit Size and Location
Unit size refers to the cooling capacity of an AC unit, typically measured in tons. Generally speaking, the smaller the unit, the more affordable the evaporator coil replacement cost will be.
For example, an evaporator coil for a 2- or 2.5-ton unit shouldn’t cost more than $675 to replace, while a coil from a 5-ton unit could cost more than $1,000 to replace. The size of the unit influences AC evaporator coil replacement costs because larger units require larger coils, which are generally pricier.
The following chart shows the typical AC evaporator coil replacement cost by unit size, not including labor.
|Unit Size||Cost (Materials Only)|
Location refers to where the AC unit is situated in the home. A coil replacement is typically more affordable if the unit is easily accessible and allows for straightforward repairs. Labor costs and the overall price may be higher if the unit is more challenging to reach and requires the technician to navigate tight spaces and disassemble more components in order to access the evaporator coil.
Evaporator Coil Brand
Homeowners have a wide range of options when choosing an evaporator coil brand, with about a dozen reputable AC brands available on the market. Some brands prioritize affordability, offering bargain options that cater to budget-conscious consumers. On the other hand, certain brands focus on longevity and quality, providing products known for their durability and performance but with a higher price tag.
To shop for brands effectively, homeowners will want to research customer reviews and ratings, comparing the features and warranties offered by different manufacturers. Additionally, they can consult with HVAC professionals who have experience with various brands and can provide valuable insights.
It’s worth noting that pricing can sometimes be negotiable, especially when customers are dealing with authorized dealers or when shopping during promotional periods. Homeowners can inquire about any available discounts, financing options, or package deals that may help them save on both the coil and installation costs.
When shopping for an AC evaporator coil replacement from one of the best air conditioner brands, homeowners can expect to pay the following.
|Brand||Evaporator Coil Cost (Materials Only)|
Evaporator Coil Type
Evaporator coils come in various types, each with its own characteristics and average replacement costs. These different types include A-coils, N-coils, and Z-coils as well as slab units.
A-coils are the most common type, have a tent-like appearance, and cost around $1,300 on average. N- and Z-coils, costing around $1,550, resemble the respective letters and are less common due to a higher risk of freeze-ups. Slab units, costing approximately $1,200, consist of two slabs pushed together and are also less commonly used.
Additionally, evaporator coils are available in cased and uncased options. Uncased coils, averaging around $800, require precise fitting during installation, while cased coils, with an average cost of $1,000, offer more flexibility in installation. These variations in evaporator coil types contribute to the differences in the overall replacement costs.
When it comes to AC systems, both indoor units and outdoor units rely on a chemical compound called refrigerant to cool the circulating air. Also known as freon, refrigerant carries a price tag ranging from $4 to $10 per pound, depending on the type that a unit requires.
Replacing an AC coil typically requires a refrigerant refill or replacement. Homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for new refrigerant, with an average AC recharge cost (where refrigerant is added to the unit) of $300.
It’s worth noting that older AC models running on outdated refrigerants may incur higher costs. Ensuring the proper refrigerant type is used during the replacement process is crucial for the efficient operation of the air-conditioning system.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) Rating
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rating, also called the SEER rating, is a measurement used to evaluate AC cooling efficiency. It is calculated by dividing the cooling output by the total electric energy input during the typical cooling season. Higher SEER ratings indicate a unit is more energy efficient, reducing energy consumption and lowering utility bills.
The SEER rating of the AC unit can have an impact on the cost of replacing an evaporator coil. AC units with higher SEER ratings often have more advanced and intricate systems. It may cost more to replace components, including evaporator coils, in units with higher SEER ratings than in units with lower SEER ratings.
Labor, in the context of AC evaporator coil replacement costs, refers to the skilled work performed by an HVAC professional to remove the old coil and install a new one. Labor costs are rarely a flat rate. They can vary based on the unit’s location, the accessibility of the coil, and the existence of any specific system requirements that can make the job more difficult or dangerous.
The cost of labor for AC evaporator coil replacement typically ranges from $400 to $1,000, often adding up to the price of the coil itself. This is because handling refrigerant, a potentially hazardous chemical compound, requires a license. By hiring a licensed professional, homeowners ensure proper refrigerant handling and benefit from the expertise necessary for a successful installation.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Some evaporator coil replacements may require additional steps or considerations that can add to the overall cost. While the following scenarios may not apply to every replacement, homeowners are advised to be aware of what to keep in mind when budgeting to avoid costly surprises.
Repair vs. Replacement
When it becomes evident that an AC unit’s evaporator coil is damaged, homeowners may have more options than they realize. While replacement is often the first consideration, there are scenarios where a repair may be the more affordable and beneficial option.
However, it’s important to crunch the numbers before jumping to conclusions. To make an informed decision, homeowners will want to consider the age of the existing coil, the extent of the issue, labor costs, and the availability of replacement parts. If the cost of repairing an existing coil isn’t much less than the cost of replacing it, a new coil may be the more practical and cost-effective investment.
But if a coil is new and a repair is simple, this option can provide a homeowner with an affordable fix that can help them get the most out of their initial AC unit investment.
Evaporator Coil vs. Condenser Coil
The evaporator coil and condenser coil are essential parts of an air-conditioning system that work together to cool a home. While the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the indoor air, the condenser coil releases the absorbed heat into the outdoor air and allows the unit’s refrigerant to return to a liquid state.
The lifespans of evaporator and condenser coils are generally similar. Therefore, if an evaporator coil is nearing the end of its lifespan, homeowners are advised to have the condenser coil checked as well. If both coils require replacement, homeowners can expect to pay approximately $800 for an AC condenser coil replacement.
Additional AC Repairs
In addition to the evaporator coil, there are other components of an AC system that may require repairs or replacements, either due to related issues or general wear and tear. These additional AC repair costs can raise the overall price tag of replacing the evaporator coil. Some common HVAC and AC repairs include the following.
- Motor replacement. The AC motor, responsible for powering the system’s fan and compressor, may need to be replaced for $475 if it’s showing signs of wear and tear.
- Heat pump component replacement. The reversing valve, defrost control board, or compressor may require repairs or replacement in systems with a heat pump.
- Control circuit board replacement. The control circuit board, essential for regulating and coordinating system operations, may cost around $275 to replace.
- Relay switch replacement. The relay switch, responsible for controlling the electrical current flow within the AC system, can fail with time and may need replacement at a cost of $225.
In some scenarios, an evaporator coil may be covered under an AC unit’s warranty. Alternatively, a home warranty may cover HVAC repairs such as an evaporator coil replacement. If so, this can significantly reduce a homeowner’s replacement cost. A homeowner can find out the answers to the following questions to see if their coil is covered.
- What coverage does the warranty offer? If a coil is under warranty, the manufacturer will typically cover the cost of parts, leaving the homeowner responsible for labor fees. These fees usually range from $100 to $400.
- Are there coverage limits? Even if a warranty covers a coil, the coverage may be void if the damage is due to improper installation or natural disasters. Reviewing the warranty terms can shed light on this concern.
- Has the unit been maintained? The best home warranties for HVAC coverage, such as American Home Shield and Liberty Home Guard, tend to require regular professional inspections and maintenance to ensure warranty coverage.
A homeowner will be responsible for the full replacement costs if a warranty is expired or doesn’t cover the evaporator coil repair.
Types of AC Evaporator Coil Replacement
A variety of evaporator coil options are available on the market to cater to different AC units. These options include various sizes, shapes, and materials used for the coils. Some of the most common evaporator coils are described below.
|Type of Evaporator Coil||Replacement Cost|
|N- or Z-coil||$1,550|
The A-coil evaporator coil is the most common type of evaporator coil used in air-conditioning systems. It’s named after its shape, as it resembles the letter “A.”
Technicians prefer the A-coil design because it’s compact in size and has a more efficient design than other types. It features two coils, with a smaller coil stacked on top of a larger coil. This design creates a greater surface area to speed up the heat exchange, resulting in more efficient cooling.
An A-coil can also remove moisture from the air and reduce humidity levels in a home. Lower humidity levels can help reduce energy costs, improve indoor air quality, and make a home feel cooler and more comfortable. The average cost of an A-coil is $1,300.
N- or Z-Coil
Also named for the letter design they resemble, N- and Z-coils are two additional types of evaporator coils technicians sometimes use. However, they’re not as common as the A-coil design, since they’re more prone to freeze-ups. Both N- and Z-coils cost around $1,550 to replace.
If they’re less efficient and more expensive, what scenarios warrant the use of an N- or Z-coil? Homeowners who own AC units with space constraints may benefit from these coil types. Additionally, some units are compatible only with N- or Z-coils. Homeowners can discuss their options with their HVAC technician based on their budget and unit requirements.
Slab coils differ from A-, N-, and Z-coils in their orientation and installation method. A slab evaporator coil is designed to be installed horizontally in a slab or ductwork, while other coils are designed to be used vertically.
Slab units are ideal for use in residential units with limited space and have a lower profile than other coil types. They can also improve a unit’s cooling performance, since they have larger surface areas for improved heat transfers. However, they’re not a common coil for technicians to use. Homeowners can expect to pay around $1,200 for a slab coil, making them a budget-friendly option for compatible units.
An uncased coil is an evaporator coil without an external protective casing or enclosure. The coils and fins are exposed, making this type of coil harder to install and practical only for units where an enclosure isn’t necessary. They need to fit the unit exactly and require precise alignment for optimal performance and efficiency.
Since these coils have exposed components, regular maintenance and cleaning are important to prevent dust and debris from accumulating. However, uncased coils tend to cost less than cased coils, making them an attractive option for homeowners struggling to come up with the funds for an evaporator coil replacement. They’re the most affordable option, with an average cost of $800.
Do I Need AC Evaporator Coil Replacement?
Evaporator coils break down for a variety of reasons. But there are almost always signs that an evaporator coil is in need of repair. Homeowners will want to be aware of the following symptoms of an evaporator coil in distress so they can act accordingly and prevent more expensive repairs.
Vents Blowing Warm Air
When a homeowner notices a vent blowing warm air, it could indicate a damaged evaporator coil within the air-conditioning system.
The evaporator coil plays a vital role in absorbing heat from the passing air, allowing cool air to circulate. If the coil is damaged, its ability to absorb heat effectively diminishes, resulting in the flow of warm air from the vents. A damaged evaporator coil can also lead to refrigerant leaks, causing even more warm air to blow through the vents.
Having a professional HVAC tech out sooner than later is ideal, since there are several reasons an AC unit isn’t blowing cold air. Ignoring the problem may lead to additional discomfort for those inside the home and a higher risk of damage to other components within the unit.
AC Not Starting
When an AC unit fails to start, homeowners may notice that there is a complete lack of cooling and airflow inside the home. In the event of a damaged evaporator coil, refrigerant leaks can occur, reducing cooling capacity and efficiency. In some cases, this can lead the unit to completely freeze up.
However, various other factors can prevent an AC unit from starting, such as a faulty thermostat, tripped circuit breaker, blown fuse, malfunctioning compressor, or electrical wiring problems.
It’s crucial to have a professional HVAC technician diagnose the issue to identify the precise cause and recommend the appropriate solution. The longer the issue goes undiagnosed, the more likely it is that the entire unit may need to be replaced.
AC Stopping and Starting Frequently
Another symptom homeowners may notice with a damaged evaporator coil is their AC system cycling on and off more frequently than usual. A damaged evaporator coil can indeed be a cause of this issue.
When the coil is damaged, its ability to efficiently absorb heat from the passing air is compromised, causing the AC unit to struggle to maintain the desired temperature. Consequently, the unit may cycle on and off frequently in its attempt to achieve the set cooling level. This frequent cycling can place excessive strain on the compressor, potentially leading to further damage and costly repairs.
While a damaged evaporator coil is a common culprit, other factors can contribute to this problem, such as a malfunctioning thermostat, restricted airflow, or issues with the condenser unit. Having a professional HVAC technician out to diagnose an AC unit that isn’t cooling properly because it’s stopping and starting is always the best approach.
Unusual sounds from an AC unit can indicate a damaged evaporator coil. When refrigerant leaks from a damaged evaporator coil, it disrupts the normal functioning of the AC unit. As the refrigerant escapes, it creates imbalances in the system, leading to irregular pressure levels and turbulent airflow. These disruptions can generate a range of sounds, such as hissing, gurgling, or bubbling noises, as the remaining refrigerant and air mixture circulates through the system.
While a damaged indoor coil is a common cause of unusual sounds, other factors can also contribute, such as loose components, worn-out belts, or a malfunctioning fan motor.
Homeowners will want to promptly address any unusual sounds by seeking professional HVAC assistance to diagnose the exact cause and recommend appropriate repairs. Ignoring the issue may exacerbate the damage and result in further complications and higher repair costs.
Water or Refrigerant Leaks
Refrigerants work by cycling through the components of an AC system, absorbing heat from the indoor air and releasing it outside. They undergo a continuous cycle of compression, condensation, expansion, and evaporation.
Homeowners may notice water or refrigerant leaks from an AC unit through visible signs of dripping or pooling liquids near the unit. When the evaporator coil is damaged, the refrigerant may escape from the system while cycling through, leading to cooling capacity losses and water leaks.
However, there are other potential reasons for leaks, including corrosion, vibration, or wear and tear in different parts of the AC unit, such as the condenser coil or refrigerant lines.
When facing water or refrigerant leaks, homeowners will want to act promptly and have their AC unit inspected and repaired by a qualified HVAC technician. Refrigerant leaks not only impact cooling performance but can also be harmful to the environment.
Dust or Soot Buildup
Dust and soot buildup in an AC unit refers to the accumulation of particles and debris, particularly on the evaporator coil. This buildup can be observed as visible dirt or darkened areas within the unit or on the coil itself.
Evaporator coils absorb heat from the air as it passes over them. A damaged coil is less efficient at absorbing heat. This causes the AC unit to work harder to maintain a cool temperature inside a home. As time goes on, additional dust and debris can accumulate inside the unit.
To address this issue, regular maintenance is crucial. Homeowners will want to schedule professional inspections and cleanings for their AC units. Additionally, homeowners can play their part by regularly replacing air filters, maintaining a clean environment around the AC unit, and ensuring proper airflow.
If a homeowner notices parts of their AC unit are beginning to deteriorate or rust, corrosion is likely to blame. Corrosion is the breakdown of metal and can be caused by exposure to high humidity levels, condensation buildup, or chemical reactions with pollutants of contaminants in the air.
Inadequate maintenance or neglect of an AC unit can cause corrosion. Improper installation or poor-quality materials can also be to blame.
However, corrosion on an AC unit can also indicate a damaged evaporator coil. And because a damaged coil can cause refrigerant to leak, leading to corrosion over time, it’s important to address corrosion immediately to prevent the cost of an entire HVAC unit replacement.
AC Evaporator Coil Replacement: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
While some homeowners may consider DIY options for evaporator coil replacement, it’s important to emphasize the risks and complexities involved with this type of job. What follows are several compelling reasons why hiring a professional HVAC technician is strongly recommended when it comes to evaporator coil replacement.
- Safety. Handling refrigerant requires specialized knowledge and equipment. Incorrect handling can lead to health hazards, environmental damage, and potential legal consequences. Professionals are trained to handle refrigerants safely, ensuring compliance with local regulations and minimizing risks.
- Expertise. HVAC technicians possess the necessary expertise and experience to perform precise coil replacements. They understand the intricacies of the system, including electrical connections, refrigerant lines, and airflow requirements. Their knowledge helps ensure proper installation and optimal system performance.
- Proper diagnosis. Evaporator coil issues can have various underlying causes. HVAC professionals can accurately diagnose the root cause of the problem and determine if coil replacement is indeed necessary. Misdiagnosing the issue can lead to unnecessary expenses and ineffective repairs.
- Efficiency and warranty. Professional installation ensures that the new coil is installed correctly, maximizing the system’s efficiency and performance. In addition, reputable HVAC companies often provide warranties on their work, offering homeowners peace of mind and protection against potential defects or issues.
- Time and convenience. Evaporator coil replacement is a time-consuming task that requires careful disassembly and reassembly of components. HVAC technicians have the tools, knowledge, and efficiency to complete the job promptly, minimizing system downtime and inconvenience for homeowners.
- Cost-effectiveness. While DIY may initially seem cost-effective, mistakes during installation can result in costly repairs or system damage. Investing in professional services upfront can save homeowners money in the long run by avoiding potential complications or repeat repairs.
While the temptation to DIY evaporator coil replacement may exist, the risks involved, particularly with handling refrigerant, make hiring a professional HVAC technician highly advisable. Their expertise, safety measures, and comprehensive service ensure a properly functioning AC system and provide homeowners with peace of mind.
How to Save Money on AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost
For budget-conscious homeowners, overspending on evaporator coil replacement costs is a concern. However, there are several ways to save money on a replacement without compromising on quality. Homeowners will want to consider a combination of the following cost-saving opportunities.
- Get several quotes. Seek estimates from multiple reputable professionals to compare prices and services offered, ensuring the best value for money.
- Keep up with maintenance. Maintain the evaporator coil and the entire HVAC system through routine cleaning, filter replacements, and inspections, reducing the likelihood of major issues and costly repairs.
- Act quickly. Immediately address any signs of trouble, such as reduced cooling efficiency or unusual noises, to prevent minor problems from escalating into additional repairs or the need for a complete system replacement.
- Choose an energy-efficient model. Opt for energy-efficient evaporator coil models, which may have a higher upfront cost but can lead to long-term savings through reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills.
- Look into warranties. Explore warranty options for the new evaporator coil, as certain types of coverage can provide financial protection in case of unexpected failures or defects.
- Check for rebates. Investigate available rebates or incentives from manufacturers, utility companies, or government programs promoting energy-efficient upgrades, potentially reducing the replacement cost.
- Search for financing. If the replacement cost of an evaporator coil exceeds the available budget, consider financing options that allow for manageable monthly payments with little or no interest.
Questions to Ask About AC Evaporator Coil Replacement
Choosing the right professional for evaporator coil replacement is essential to ensure a successful and satisfactory outcome. By asking a series of qualifying questions, homeowners can gather crucial information and assess the expertise, reliability, and suitability of potential professionals. The following questions can help a homeowner select the best HVAC company for the job.
- What experience do you have with evaporator coil replacement?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Can you provide references or customer testimonials from previous evaporator coil replacement projects?
- Do you offer a warranty or guarantee for your workmanship and the new evaporator coil installed?
- What factors will determine the size and type of evaporator coil needed for my specific air-conditioning system?
- How long until my replacement can be scheduled, and once the appointment arrives, how long will the entire process take?
- Do you recommend any additional repairs or modifications to my unit at this time?
- What’s included in your cost quote? Can you break down the cost of the replacement, including parts, labor, and any additional fees such as equipment costs?
- Are there any energy-efficient options or upgrades available for my unit that will help absorb some of the installation cost in energy savings?
- What steps will you take to ensure proper disposal of the old evaporator coil and any refrigerant removed during the replacement?
- Will you provide maintenance tips or recommendations to maximize the lifespan and efficiency of the new evaporator coil, such as how to clean AC coils?
- Do you provide annual HVAC service, and if so, what is the cost of HVAC service if I use your company? What is included with the service?
At the end of a hot summer day, evaporator coils are behind cool, comfortable living spaces. When an evaporator coil isn’t functioning properly, it doesn’t take long to notice. Unpleasant temperatures, worrisome noises or performance issues, and soaring energy bills can quickly encourage a homeowner to take action.
Although AC evaporator coil replacement cost is not insignificant, it proves to be a worthwhile investment in safety and comfort. The following FAQs may help answer additional questions surrounding evaporator coils and the feasibility of replacement as an option.
Q. Is it worth replacing an evaporator coil?
An air-conditioning system can’t function properly without an evaporator coil. That’s why most homeowners agree that the typical replacement cost of $1,325 is well worth it when stacked up against sticky, sweaty days and hot, sleepless nights that accompany a poorly functioning AC unit. However, if multiple components of an AC unit are malfunctioning, it’s worthwhile to crunch the numbers to see if the cost of installing a new central AC unit is the more cost-effective route to take.
Q. How long do evaporator coils last?
Homeowners can expect an air conditioner evaporator coil to last between 10 and 20 years. This life expectancy tends to line up with that of the air conditioner itself. However, if an AC unit and its components, including the evaporator coil, are neglected and not regularly maintained, its lifespan can be drastically shortened.
Q. What causes evaporator coils to leak?
There are several reasons an evaporator coil may begin to leak. Exposure to excess moisture or certain chemicals can cause corrosion, which weakens the metal and causes leaks. Accidental impact or mishandling during maintenance can also lead to eventual leaks. Wear and tear can be yet another cause, especially in older coils.
Q. How do I know if my evaporator coil is bad?
Damaged or compromised evaporator coils almost always exhibit symptoms. Common signs of a bad evaporator coil include the following:
- Insufficient cooling
- Poor airflow
- Frequent system breakdowns
- Refrigerant leaks
- Ice formation
- Unusual sounds
- Soot or dust accumulation
It’s ideal to have an HVAC technician out as soon as possible at the first sign of a potential issue with an AC unit. Proper diagnosis of a faulty evaporator coil or any other issue can keep repairs and replacement costs at a minimum.
Q. Can you clean AC evaporator coils?
AC evaporator coils need to be cleaned regularly, as they collect dust, debris, and soot. When an outdoor coil is being cleaned, compressed air is ideal. During a cleaning, an HVAC technician will blow air through the coils in the opposite direction of normal airflow, taking care to blow straight through the fins to avoid bending them. A shop vac or one of the best HVAC coil cleaners is ideal when an indoor evaporator coil is being cleaned.
Q. How do you fix a leaking evaporator coil?
Leaks always need to be addressed as quickly as possible to avoid a total system breakdown. There are three main approaches. The first is to add refrigerant, which is usually a temporary solution. Another option is to seal any leaks, though several coats of sealant may be necessary, and this method only has a 50 percent success rate. Another option is to replace the coils, which has a high success rate but is more expensive.