How much do HVAC repairs cost?
We break down the cost of replacing the most common HVAC parts in this guide
When a Wisconsin HVAC system breaks down, one of the first questions clients ask is how much does it cost to fix a furnace or what does an AC repair like this cost? Although there are many factors that go into the exact cost of the furnace or air conditioner repair, our Master Tradesmen breaks down the most common parts to fail on furnace and air conditioning equipment and provides some approximate costs for the repairs.
What determines the cost of a furnace or air conditioner repair?
Austin Plumbing, Heating & Air provides furnace and AC repair services as one price that includes parts and labor and quotes all repairs up front and in writing before any of the work is completed. To provide some insight into what goes into determining the cost of a HVAC system repair, we break down the five major categories that impact the cost of a HVAC system repair on either a furnace, air conditioner or boiler system.
Diagnostic labor- This is the time it takes one of our HVAC gurus to pinpoint the exact HVAC part that has failed.
Parts cost- This portion of the HVAC system repair is the actual parts or materials needed to get the equipment running again. Major factors of the parts cost are what the part is- if an exact OEM part is needed or if the part can be replaced with universal parts.
Part availability- With supply chain issues, there are times where the cost to have the part shipped can be a substantial part of the overall furnace or air conditioner repair.
Installation labor- Once the parts are in hand (we stock many parts right on our warehouse on wheels) the time it takes to install the parts is included in the repair cost that we quote.
Secondary repairs- When we arrive at a furnace or air conditioner that isn’t running at all, the first step is to get the HVAC system running again. Sometimes the first part to fail in the furnace or air start up sequence isn’t the only part that failed or that needs to be replaced. This is why after the initial repair, there are often other parts that need to be replaced as a result of the first failure.
Major parts vs. consumable components
To be clear, your furnace doesn’t have tires and the brakes on your air conditioner don’t get worn out. But, just like a car, your furnace, air conditioner and HVAC system has wearable components that are expected to need replacement during the life of the system. The great news is that most of these consumable HVAC parts are not super expensive. Here are the most common furnace and air conditioner parts and the typical cost to replace them.
Consumable furnace parts- The least expensive furnace parts
The ignitor is a consumable part of the furnace which is responsible for lighting the furnace during each heating cycle.
- Ignitors are critical to furnace operation.
- Ignitors wear out over time and some ignitors can be tested to see where they are in their life cycle.
- Ignitor failure is sometimes part of a larger underlying issue with the equipment such as gas pressure, short cycling, flame sensor, furnace control, or gas valve failure.
- Ignitors are often replaced before they fail to the point that they no longer work to avoid unnecessary breakdowns.
Typical cost to install a new ignitor in a furnace: $250-$600
Pressure Switch Replacement-
A pressure switch is a consumable component of HVAC equipment and is one of several safety proving switches in the ignition sequence of a gas burning appliance.
- Pressure switches have a limited life as they open and close each time a piece of equipment fires and stops and are subject to damage caused by drainage issues in HVAC equipment.
- Pressure switch failure and associated symptoms are often related to intermittent heating issues, which is why if a replacement pressure switch is installed to solve an intermittent heating issue there is no guarantee that it will fully resolve the issue.
- Pressure switch failure and associated symptoms can also be related to larger more serious issues such as plugged and/or failing secondary heat exchangers, failing inducer motors, pre existing venting systems, gas valves and various other combustion issues.
Typical cost to install furnace pressure switches: $250-$400
The flame sensor is a consumable part of the furnace which is part of the safety proving sensors of the ignition sequence.
- Flame sensors wear out over time and are cleaned during tune ups to restore their sensitivity.
- Any flame sensor that tests below 1.5 microamps after cleaning should be replaced.
- Flame sensor failure and faults related to flame sensor failure are sometimes an indication of larger underlying problems with the equipment.
Flame sensor average cost of installation: $175-$300
A capacitor is a consumable component of HVAC equipment that stores energy and assists motors and/or compressors with starting.
- As capacitors wear, they get outside manufactured tolerances which can lead to motor and equipment damage. A capacitor that tests out of range should be replaced.
- A failed capacitor can also be the result of a failed motor or compressor. Repeated capacitor failure indicates a larger issue with the motor or compressor that it serves.
Typical capacitor cost to install: $150-$300
A transformer steps down standard high voltage to the lower voltage used in most HVAC controls and accessories.
- Most HVAC systems require two transformers. One comes factory installed in the furnace or boiler for the operation of the equipment and a second transformer for outside accessories such as IAQ and zoning.
- Transformer failure and symptoms can be a result of larger underlying issues with the HVAC system such as control board failure, power surging, or other electrical malfunctions in the electrical and HVAC systems connected to it.
Typical transformer install: $200-$400
High Limit –
The high limit is a consumable part and part of the safety proving switches in the equipment. The limit switch monitors the internal temperature of the unit and shuts the system down if it gets too hot.
- Limit failure and tripping is sometimes related to larger underlying issues with the equipment such as plugged heat exchangers, failed blowers, and other air flow related issues.
- Some heating systems have multiple limit switches all tied together. In these cases, it may be wise to replace all limits in the circuit to prevent multiple trouble calls.
High limit replacement cost: $200-$300
Major furnace components- The most expensive furnace parts
Inducer Motor Replacement-
An inducer motor is a major component of the HVAC system that is responsible for evacuating the exhaust created by combustion outdoors.
- Inducer motor failure and symptoms can often be a sign of larger underlying issues with the system such as heat exchanger failure and pre existing venting conditions.
- The installation of a replacement inducer motor often requires disturbing the seal between the inducer, the vent system, and the heat exchangers. After the removal of the inducer motor, additional work may be required at an additional cost.
Inducer motor replacement average installation cost: $750-$2,000
Furnace Control Board Replacement-
The control board is one of the major components of any piece of equipment and is the central operating system of the furnace and plays a part in both the heating and cooling functions of a HVAC system.
- The symptoms of a failed control board are often intermittent or inconsistent which is why if a control board is installed in an attempt to solve an intermittent issue with an HVAC system, there is no guarantee that the new board will fully resolve the system’s intermittent operation.
Cost to replace most furnace control boards: $750- $2,000
Gas Valve Replacement-
The gas valve is a major component of HVAC equipment and is a critical part of the ignition system.
- Gas valve failure and associated symptoms can also be related to failures in the control board, incoming gas pressure, and water leakage.
- Gas valve failure and associated symptoms are often related to intermittent heating issues which is why if a replacement gas valve is installed to solve an intermittent heating issue, there is no guarantee that it will fully resolve the issue.
Furnace gas valve replacement cost: $500-$1,200
The blower motor is a major component of the equipment and is responsible for moving heated or cooled air throughout the entire home.
- Installing a replacement blower motor requires the disconnection, disruption and reconnection of additional furnace components such as the control board, drain traps and other electrical components. Austin is not responsible for damage, additional problems, or costs that arise as a result of this task.
- Blower motor failure and symptoms can be part of a larger underlying issue with the HVAC system such as improperly sized ductwork, control board problems and other electrical malfunctions.
- Depending on the situation that prompts blower motor replacement, we sometimes recommend installing a replacement blower wheel at the same time.
Range of blower motor replacement cost: $750-$2,500
Heat Exchanger Replacement-
The heat exchanger of the furnace (there are actually two) is a major part of the machine and is a costly part to replace.
- The heat exchanger keeps the good air in the home separate from the exhaust while the heat from the burnt gas is transferred to the home’s air.
- If a heat exchanger gets a hole or crack in it, this is a serious safety concern.
- Secondary heat exchangers plug over time.
- Furnace replacement should be considered if you’re looking at a heat exchanger replacement.
If you’re looking at a heat exchanger replacement, plan on spending $1,500-$2,500 on this extensive furnace repair.
Consumable air conditioner parts- The least expensive air conditioner repair parts
An air conditioner contactor is a consumable component of an air conditioner and is responsible for receiving the thermostats call for cooling which passes through the furnace control board and brings the outdoor AC condenser online. This is a high-voltage component that converts the 24V signal from the HVAC system to the 240V power your outdoor condenser runs on.
- The AC contactor, although a wearable part, is critical to your AC systems operation.
- This wearable component will require periodic replacement throughout the life of your system.
- Vermin such as mice, bugs, and other insects can get stuck between the high voltage transfer points and cause premature failure.
- Because of the importance of this component, we often recommend replacement based on age and visible wear even though it’s working at the time.
Cost to install an air conditioner contactor: $250-$450
Hard Start Assist-
A hard start kit gives compressors that are having a hard time getting started the extra boost they need to get going, kind of like a defibrillator.
- Hard starts are sometimes recommended by manufacturers on larger AC systems to help take some of the wear and tear off OEM parts during start up.
- Most of the time, hard starts are installed in aging AC systems to prolong the useful life. The need for and symptoms that lead to the recommendation of a hard start kit are often signs of a larger underlying issue with the compressor itself and why often a hard start assist will only provide a temporary solution.
- There is no guarantee how long a hard start will continue to bring assistance on a worn compressor.
Cost of a replacement hard start kit: $250-$400
Air Conditioner Dual Capacitor-
Part of both the outdoor fan motor and compressor start up process, the dual capacitor helps jump start the air conditioner to get it running. These are a consumable part and will fail several times during the life of a typical air conditioner.
- We are able to test dual capacitors to see where they are in their life cycle. It’s a great idea to replace these before they fail.
- A failed capacitor can also be the result of a failed motor or compressor. Repeat capacitor failure indicates a larger issue with the motor or compressor that it serves.
Cost to install a dual capacitor: $225- $400
Major air conditioner components- The most expensive AC parts
Condenser fan motor-
An AC condenser fan motor, also known as the air conditioner fan is the fan on the outdoor portion of the AC system. This is a major part of the air conditioner and it is responsible for blowing the heat that was absorbed by the refrigerant before it enters the compressor.
- AC fan motors typically last more than five years.
- The fan blades that are attached to the condenser fan motor can become out of balance contributing to failure.
- If your outdoor unit is excessively noisy or rattles, the condenser fan could be the cause.
Typical cost to install an air conditioner condenser fan: $550-$1,200
The air conditioner compressor is the heart of the outdoor portion of the AC system and is a major component of the HVAC system.
- Compressors fail for various reasons ranging from wear and tear to refrigeration contamination.
- If you’re facing an AC compressor replacement, whole system replacement should be considered.
- A failed compressor can contaminate the refrigeration system and cause other major problems in the future.
The cost to install a new air conditioning compressor: $1,500-$3,000
Refrigeration Metering Devices-
As the refrigerant of your air conditioning system is pumped through the system, it’s regulated by a metering system often called a TXV. This valve is a major component of the AC and indoor coil and is costly to replace should it fail.
- TXV’s do wear out over time but often need to be replaced because they leak or become plugged with debris or non-condensables from the system.
- TXV’s help regulate your air conditioning so it’s running at peak performance as the weather conditions change outside.
- Replacement of the TXV often requires recovering the refrigerant in the system and completely recharging the air conditioner.
Cost to install a new TXV: $1,200-$1,700
Who is the best HVAC contractor in Wisconsin?
We’re biased of course! But if you’re located in Southeastern Wisconsin and are looking for expert heating or cooling system service, furnace repair, air conditioning repair or any type of HVAC services, Austin Plumbing, Heating and Air is the best choice. The furnace & AC gurus on Team Austin have been keeping Wisconsin comfortable with reliable furnace and air conditioner repair services for over 80 years. To book service, reach us at 262-367-3808.