Having air conditioner trouble and think the evaporator coil may be to blame? Read on to learn the average evaporator coil replacement cost, how long these parts last, and how to determine if yours needs to be replaced.
Disclaimer: REthority is supported by ads and participation in affiliate programs. We may earn a commission when you click our links. The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or financial advice.
- How Long Does an Evaporator Coil Last?
- When to Replace an Evaporator Coil
- Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost
- Find an HVAC Pro Near You
Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost
Is your air conditioner failing to cool your home properly? Maybe you’ve noticed frozen coils or found that the entire system has shut down. The problem may lie with the evaporator coil, an essential part of your HVAC system.
This part doesn’t last forever, and when it fails, your A/C will no longer work. If you think it might be time to replace yours, there are many things to consider. Is it actually the evaporator coil causing the problem?
What’s the evaporator coil replacement cost? Is this a job you can do on your own? We’ll answer these questions and more in our complete guide to evaporator coil replacement. First, we’ll talk about the evaporator coil’s function and why it’s important.
Next, we’ll look at how long these parts typically last, signs it’s time to replace one, and how much evaporator coil replacement costs. We’ve even got some tips on hiring a professional to do the job for you! Let’s get started.
What Is an Evaporator Coil?
An evaporator coil is an essential part of every air conditioning system. It’s a large part that turns the liquid refrigerant in the air conditioner into a vapor (gas) form by evaporating it.
The evaporator coil actually pulls the heat out of the air inside your home by absorbing it. It can do that efficiently because the copper tubes in the coil are filled with liquid refrigerant.
Liquid refrigerant is good at absorbing heat, so it acts like a “heat magnet” that removes the heat from the warm air being passed over it by the A/C’s blower fan.
In a nutshell, your A/C sucks in the warm air inside your home and pushes that air through the system. Once the warm air touches the colder liquid refrigerant in the evaporator coil tubes, the liquid evaporates and turns into a gas.
In the gas state, refrigerant is even better at absorbing the heat from the air. The cooled air is then blown into the house through the ducts and vents. Your air conditioner won’t work without the evaporator coil to remove the heat from the air inside your home.
How Long Does an Evaporator Coil Last?
We know that evaporator coils are an integral part of any air conditioning system. But how long does an evaporator coil last? Professionals estimate that a well-maintained evaporator coil can last up to 20 years.
But that’s the best-case scenario, and most of us aren’t properly maintaining our HVAC systems to get the full 20-year lifespan out of our coils. More realistically, your evaporator coil will last about as long as the average air conditioner – about 15 years.
Evaporator coils begin to deteriorate over time, like all other parts. After 20 years, these parts are about 30% less efficient at absorbing heat and cooling air. They can fail or become inefficient for many reasons:
- Constant expansion and contraction as it absorbs heat and cools refrigerant weakens the bonds in the coil’s aluminum fins and copper tubes, so it’s less efficient overall
- Amateur attempts at cleaning the coil push dirt further into the nooks and crannies in the part, making it less efficient
- Lack of regular cleaning and maintenance leaves the coil dirty and unable to make enough contact with the air to absorb heat efficiently
- Harsh cleaning products corrode the aluminum fins, reducing the area available to make contact with the air
- Normal erosion and corrosion of the coil results in refrigerant leaks – this happens to all evaporator coils over time
There are so many potential issues that can cause an evaporator coil to be less efficient or stop working completely. So how do you know which is the cause and when to replace it? That’s next.
When to Replace an Evaporator Coil
Maybe you’ve noticed some problems with your air conditioner and suspect the evaporator coil is the culprit. Perhaps you’re just looking for signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Knowing when to replace an evaporator coil typically requires advice from a professional HVAC technician who can inspect your system. However, there are some things you can look out for that indicate a problem with the evaporator coil.
Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling Properly
An air conditioner that is blowing out warm air or shutting off before the house reaches the temperature you’ve set, the evaporator coil may be the problem.
There are many other issues and parts that make your A/C less efficient, and only a trained HVAC professional can tell you which problem yours is having.
If you’ve noticed your A/C isn’t working as it should, the evaporator coil may need to be replaced – but it could also be something as simple as a heavily clogged air filter. Call a pro to be sure!
Your Coils Are Frozen
If you can get a look at your evaporator coil and you see frozen coils, something’s not right. It could be a problem with the airflow, which allows the coils to get too cold and freeze the condensation that forms.
It might be a sign that your air filter or evaporator coil is extremely dirty. It could even be an indication that your level of refrigerant is too low. If the evaporator coil is frozen, turn the system off and check the air filter and evaporator coil.
If either is dirty, you may be able to have a professional clean the coil or simply replace the air filter to get it working again. If the coil is extremely dirty and more than a few years old, replacing the coil or entire unit might be a more cost-effective option.
Your Evaporator Coil Is Extremely Dirty
If you can peek into your air handler and see that the evaporator coil is covered in dust, dirt, or grime, it will eventually stop the coil from doing its job. It may or may not need to be replaced.
It’s not as simple as just cleaning the visible dirt off. A dirty coil should be cleaned by a professional to avoid pushing dirt and dust deeper into the part.
If the coil is extremely dirty and your air conditioner is more than eight years old, most HVAC professionals recommend replacing the coil or getting a new air conditioner instead.
The Air Conditioner Shut Off
If the entire A/C system shut down unexpectedly, the evaporator coil could be part or all of the problem. Dirty coils can reduce the efficiency so much that the motor runs nonstop, draws too much current, and eventually overheats.
If this is the case, an HVAC professional can take a look and recommend how to fix it. They might replace the evaporator coil or recommend getting a new air conditioner if yours is more than eight years old.
Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost
Figuring out how much an evaporator coil replacement costs means looking at the part and labor price, plus factoring in your warranty. Overall, you might be looking at a cost anywhere from $700 to $2,700.
- A replacement evaporator coil can cost $200 to $1,500, depending on the brand you choose and the size needed for your air conditioner. Most people will pay somewhere in the middle, or about $850 for a replacement evaporator coil.
- Since this isn’t a DIY replacement, hiring an HVAC professional to replace it for you could cost anywhere from $500 to $1,200. This depends on the rates charged by your HVAC technician, the length of time it takes to remove the old coil and install a new one, and whether or not any additional issues pop up during installation.
This means it’s reasonable to expect an evaporator coil replacement cost between $700 and $2,700. Most likely, you’ll end up paying around $1,700 in total for an evaporator coil replacement. This includes the parts and labor.
With the cost of replacing an evaporator coil being pretty high, many HVAC professionals may recommend that you go ahead and replace the entire unit if your warranty is up.
Carrier is one of the best-known air conditioner brands, and they offer new units as low as $1,450. Learn more by checking out our guide on Carrier Air Conditioner Prices.
Find an HVAC Professional Near You
Evaporator coils perform an essential function in air conditioners. They make sure the unit efficiently cools the air in your home. To ensure you and your family stay cool in warm weather, your evaporator coil may need to be inspected, cleaned, or replaced.
Evaporator coil replacement is not a job for the average homeowner. This part is nestled in the air handler and may not be easily accessible.
Even if you’re familiar with the location of the evaporator coil, it’s too easy to make mistakes in the process of removing the old one and installing a new one.
For evaporator coil replacement (or if you’re just not sure what’s going wrong with your A/C), you need to call an HVAC professional. HVAC professionals will:
- Keep you from spending money on parts that may not need to be replaced
- Ensure you get the right type and size of evaporator coil installed
- Prevent dangerous or efficiency-reducing mistakes during installation
- Discover any additional problems that need repair
- Bring the expertise and knowledge from years of training and experience
To get your air conditioner in working order faster and without additional problems, rely on a pro with experience. You can use our form to enter your info and find licensed professionals in your area.
Just enter a little info about the problem you’re having to get a real quote from someone specializing in working on air conditioners and evaporator coils in your area. Review the quote and decide if you’d like to schedule an inspection with the recommended pro. It’s that easy!