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A/C coil replacement: how much does it cost?

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According to the HomeAdvisor cost guide, the total cost of replacing an A/C indoor coil can cost anywhere between $600 and $2,000, and the average cost is around $1,350.

If the A/C unit calls for replacing the condensing unit, you may have to shell out $1,300 to $4,000.

Installation costs can range from $50 to $100 (per hour), and it takes approximately two to four hours to install a new coil.

Brand name, unit size and location are the key factors influencing the price of an A/C coil. Other evaporator coil replacement cost factors may include labor cost, SEER rating, unit location, repairs, warranty, style, or even refrigerant type. 

Further in this article, we answer questions like what an A/C coil is, its function within the HVAC system, the difference between an A/C condenser and an evaporator coil and common signs that your A/C coil may need a replacement. 

 

What is an A/C coil?

There are two primary parts to an air conditioner: the indoor unit and the outdoor unit.

  • Indoor unit. Key components are the blower fan, the air filter and the evaporator coil (also called the A/C coil).
  • Outdoor unit. Key components are the compressor and the condenser coil.

Refrigerant is a type of chemical coolant that flows between the above-mentioned indoor and outdoor units. It absorbs heat and expels it outside to cool your room. 

Older cooling systems used the refrigerant chemical Freon. R-22 refrigerant, a key element in Freon, was banned after it was discovered that it is detrimental to the Earth's ozone layer. New units manufactured since 2010 do not use Freon. Current systems use a refrigerant called R410A, also called Puron, which does not harm the environment.

Both heat pumps and air conditioners have an A/C coil. Its main function is to absorb the moisture and heat from within the house.

The difference between an A/C condenser and an evaporator coil

Put simply, an evaporator coil absorbs heat and moisture from indoor air to cool it. The A/C condenser coil then takes that heat and releases it outside. Together, they complete a cycle. 

That being said, both A/C condenser and evaporator coils need regular tuneups by an HVAC technician to ensure they are functioning well. 

What does an A/C coil do?

In an air conditioning system, the A/C evaporator coil dissipates hot air from the A/C system to the environment. The fan cools down the refrigerant when it blows air over the coil, which turns into a vaporous state. The refrigerant then soaks up the heat and flows to the outer unit. Finally, it becomes a hot gas by going through compression and pressurization. This cycle continues as long as the A/C unit is working properly.

 

Signs your A/C coil may need replacement

Below are a few common signs that may indicate your A/C coil needs replacement.

  • Insufficient cooling. An A/C coil is installed in the unit to cool the air. If the cooling is inadequate, it might indicate an issue with the evaporator coil. The coil can get damaged in multiple ways as it ages, like normal wear and tear or corrosion. That tends to impact the entire unit’s energy efficiency.
  • Refrigerant leaks. Typically, a leakage in the evaporator coils can happen because of corroded copper tubing. A layer of formic acid builds upon the coil when copper, water or other organic compounds found within the home interact with each other.
  • Frost buildup. Frost buildup compels your A/C to turn on and off randomly (and often) because the unit consumes more energy than required. There is an increase in the cycling frequency when the coil fails to cool the nearby air because of the frost buildup (which means more consumption of energy). If it’s a new unit, it is advisable to call a licensed HVAC professional to fix the coil. However, if the unit is too old, it most likely needs a replacement.
  • Releasing hot air. The last thing you want from your A/C unit is to emit hot air instead of cold air in the middle of scorching summer heat. Usually, the issue can be with the thermostat. Double-check to ensure it is set to cool. If it’s set to cool but isn’t blowing cold air, it may be an inner issue with the coil. This issue would require further inspection by a technician.
  • Weird sounds. A problem in the A/C coil can show up as unusual noises. Banging, clanking and hissing are common sounds when something’s off with the evaporator coil. However, these noises can also be an outcome of another issue in the unit. It is advisable to confirm with an HVAC technician, who can investigate the cause of the sound.
  • Dirt and deposits. Like any other appliance, normal wear and tear may cause dirt and debris to deposit on a coil. However, this prevents the air from coming in direct contact with the coil, which affects its efficiency. Ignoring dirt and debris buildup can permanently damage the coil and lead to bigger issues like corrosion.

If you are a homeowner and plan to purchase a new coil, brands or HVAC contractors like Trane, Lennox, Rheem, Goodman, American Standard, Amana and Ruud are advisable. 

In fact, to get the highest level of comfort from your central air conditioner, an air handler is a great option if it’s not already installed. Air handlers connect to the A/C unit to regulate and circulate air throughout the home.

It’s also useful to note that a coil comes in two types:

  • Cased coils. Generally, homes are equipped with cased evaporator coils for two simple reasons: durability and ease of installation.
  • Uncased coils. These evaporator coils are suitable for vertical or horizontal central air conditioners that need customizations. Uncased coils are easy to maneuver in a suitable position. However, installing them is not a DIY-er’s cup of tea and would need an HVAC technician to help modify the shape as per the unit.

How long does an A/C coil typically last?

An evaporator coil can survive 10 to 20 years if the A/C is well-maintained and undergoes regular tuneups. However, skipping regular maintenance may reduceits lifespan. 

Regular cleanings or tuneups are crucial because pollen, dust particles and dirt can surpass the air filters and accumulate on the evaporator coil. Since condensation makes the evaporator coil moist, those particles stack up over time and that buildup can eventually block the airflow. In fact, dust particles may increase your energy bills (and repair costs, too).

Having an HVAC professional from a reputed HVAC company conduct regular maintenance can prevent such issues. 

 

Prevent costly HVAC repair bills with Cinch

Air conditioner maintenance and tuneups are favorable ways for homeowners to avoid shelling out exorbitant amounts on repairs. No matter how vigilant you are in safeguarding your HVAC unit, there’s no assurance that your air conditioner will never cause trouble. 

Malfunctioning critical components, including A/C coils, can happen due to surprise breakdowns — even in new systems. However, with a home warranty from Cinch Home Services, you can be covered against expensive A/C repairs regardless of whether your appliance is new or old. 

Check out our Built-in Systems plan for HVAC coverage. Get a quote today, and learn more about how worry-free and affordable your summer can be!

 

Learn how much an A/C coil replacement may cost you and discover common signs that you may need one.