Air conditioner condenser units are subject to wear and tear as the unit is often located outside the home, and refrigerant passes through the unit as the air conditioner is being used. This may cause the AC condenser coil to leak refrigerant, which can cause damage to the AC unit, and lead to a malfunctioning HVAC system.
Diagnosing a Faulty Condenser Unit
#1 Noisy Condenser Unit
The AC condenser is usually quiet, so any loud noise or sound can indicate a problem with the AC system. If your condenser unit's noise level is becoming more and more audible indoors, then it may be time to replace the condenser unit or one of its parts.
#2 Refrigerant Leak
The refrigerant lines connect directly to the condenser unit, where refrigerant is transformed from a gaseous state to a liquid form as the coolant cycles through the HVAC system. Condenser coils may have small cracks in them over time due to regular wear and tear, and can leak refrigerant from the condenser unit.
When this happens, you may notice a hissing noise from where the gas is escaping the AC unit, or notice a leaking unit as the chemical drips out of the condenser coils. Contact a licensed HVAC technician to find and fix the leak in this case, as refrigerant is hazardous to work with for inexperienced individuals.
How to Replace a Condenser Coil
Condenser units require professional assistance when it comes to replacing the whole thing, but you can replace select parts of an outdoor condenser unit if the unit is under ten years old. One of the parts that can be replaced at home is the condenser coil. You will need a few tools, and some basic knowledge of the AC system.
Step 1: Cut Off the Power
The AC condenser unit has high voltage electrical power flowing through it, so it is essential to cut the power flowing into the AC unit while you're working in the outdoor system. To do this, locate the breaker box outside, and remove the breaker that is connected to your AC condenser unit. Wear protective gear before handling any electrical and refrigerant lines.
Step 2: Open the AC Condenser Unit Housing
Unscrew all four sides of the AC condenser unit. This will give you access to the internal mechanisms of the AC system, and provide you with a view of the condenser fan. The coils sit right behind the fans.
Step 3: Remove the Condenser Fan
Unscrew the condenser fan, and disconnect the wiring. There are usually three wires that connect the fan to the unit, so be sure to label these so you can reattach the wires later on. Set the condenser fan and condenser motor aside. You should now see the condenser coils.
Step 4: Cut the Tubes Around the Condenser Coil
Cut the inbound and outbound tubes that connect the condenser coil to the rest of the AC unit. Dislodge the old condenser coil from its perch, and set the unit aside. Clean up the housing of the coil to prepare it for the new AC condenser coil.
Step 5: Replace an AC Condenser Coil by Soldering It in Place
Fit the new coil in place, and align the inbound and exit tubes. Solder the tubes in place, making sure to cover all the gaps in between to prevent refrigerant from leaking out. Place the fan motor and fan blades back into place, and connect the wires back to their original positions.
Step 6: Test Out the Unit
Replace the breaker, and bring power back to the air conditioning system. Power up your air conditioner to check whether the unit is functioning properly, which indicates that you have successfully replaced the AC coils!
AC Condenser Replacement Cost
Wondering about the AC condenser replacement costs? The AC condenser is an expensive part to replace, which is why many homeowners opt to replace one or two parts instead. The cost to replace the entire unit depends on the price of the specific model you need, but labor costs around $200 to $1500 on average.
The condenser coil alone may cost upwards of $300, with the labor cost to replace the condenser coil averaging $800 to $2400, depending on the complexity of the work. Overall, replacing the entire AC condenser unit may seem like a more cost-efficient option, but the total price depends on the AC condenser price.
Where to Buy a Condenser Coil?
Like the evaporator coil unit, AC condensers can be found in online stores. There are multiple models and brands to choose from, so be sure to purchase the exact kind of condenser unit or condenser coil replacement you need for your air conditioner. When buying a condenser coil, search for ones with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 14 or higher.
#2 Official Stores
Buying from official stores is a safe bet for those looking to replace an AC condenser. Official stores carry the exact model and brand of condenser unit you may need for your air conditioner, as well as other parts such as the coils, fins, fans, and motors.
#3 Aircon Repair Shops
Air conditioner repair shops give you the best chances of proper AC condenser repair as the replacement procedure is handled by experienced technicians. At Luce Aircon, we help our clients find the ideal parts they need to keep their air conditioners up and running, and provide repair services as well for professional fixes.
Give us a call today, or send us a message through our site to get a quote on AC condenser repair costs!