How Much Should Your AC Service Cost?

Owning an HVAC system can certainly be good for your health during the hottest months of the year, but many owners worry about the effects it may have on their financial well-being. If you’ve ever been unpleasantly surprised by the cost of AC service, you may find yourself somewhat wary of the prospect. Still, you probably don’t want to give up your air conditioner entirely. How else would you stay cool from June to August? If popsicles and cold showers won’t cut it (and they probably won’t), you’ll need to keep your HVAC in good condition with regular maintenance and quality service. The real question you should be asking is whether you’re paying a fair price for the work your contractor is doing.

AC Service Cost

Many people take their contractors at face value when receiving a quote for air conditioning service, but it can be worthwhile to do a bit of research before you agree to their price. Not all companies charge the same amount for their services, and higher costs don’t necessarily mean better quality work. To make sure that you’re always getting a fair price, it’s worth knowing the average costs for some standard procedures. Look at what the service you want typically costs, then measure it against the price on your quote. If there’s a significant discrepancy, make sure your contractor can give you a good reason for it.

Let’s look at some of the most prevalent tasks that HVAC technicians are called in to handle, and examine the standard prices for each. We’ll also go into some detail about why you can expect similar costs for your service, as well as acceptable reasons for different numbers. That way, you’ll be well armed with the facts whenever you discuss money with your HVAC technician, and you’ll know whether the service you’re getting is fairly priced.

A Range of Services; a Spectrum of Costs

Primarily, it’s important to know that the price you pay for AC service can vary widely depending on what work you require on your unit. Having a service technician visit your home and work on your air conditioner can cost anywhere from under a hundred to over a thousand dollars, depending on what exactly is wrong with it. Troubleshooting service calls are often the cheapest—these are visits from a professional that diagnoses an issue with your air conditioner. On the low end, a troubleshooting call comes in at about $75, while a more expensive call could run you as much as $180.

Why do some troubleshooting calls cost more? It depends heavily on two factors: the time of year that you call, and the location of your home. Hot months represent peak demand times for air conditioning professionals, so calling for service in the middle of summer is almost always going to be more expensive. If you live in an area that’s hard to reach or where competitively priced service is not available, you may also be looking at a more expensive charge. However, a troubleshooting call shouldn’t cost more than $180 unless there are exceptional circumstances. Know this, and be ready to challenge a higher price.

Routine maintenance should be another service that comes in on the cheaper end of air conditioning service. Typically, an annual tune-up of your system should cost between $80 and $100, unless you’re on a service plan where you pay extra to have more severe problems handled as soon as your contractor discovers them. Otherwise, a yearly check-up will only involve your technician looking over your system and making minor adjustments to prevent substantial malfunctions in the future.

Larger Problems That Can Occur

At some point in your air conditioner’s life, you may find yourself needing to have more significant work done—like fixing a leak or replacing a broken part. This is especially true if you’ve neglected to have routine maintenance done each year. If that’s the case, you’ll want to know exactly how much is fair for such a job, since these tend to be more costly than regular service calls.

Dealing with refrigerant is one of the most common areas of AC repair. A refrigerant recharge can cost between $160 to $400, depending on the amount of refrigerant needed. Leak detection and reparation has the potential to be much more expensive, ranging from $225 to $1600. Most other replacement parts will be under $500 at the maximum, with the exceptions being circuit board replacement (maximum $600), evaporator coil replacement (up to $1200) and compressor replacement (up to $1800 and at least $1350).

You should use the above information to make sure that you’re always getting a fair price for the air conditioning service you need, but there’s another lesson here too: it’s far more cost-effective to have your AC serviced by a technician once or twice a year than to wait until something breaks. Make sure you’re working with a reliable AC technician, and have them take care of problems before they become too expensive.  Contact us for more information.