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How Much Does AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost?

Average National Cost
? All cost data throughout this article are collected using the RS Means construction materials database.
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$1,900 - $3,000

Find costs near you.

Updated On

December 30, 2023

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When there’s an issue of your central air conditioner not cooling properly, or if it starts blowing warm air inside, there’s a chance your evaporator coil has refrigerant leaks.

In this guide, we’ll provide everything you need to know about HVAC system coils — including how they function and expected AC evaporator coil replacement cost averages.

What happens inside your AC system’s evaporator coil could be described as magical, but it’s just physics. The compressor pumps the refrigerant gas from the outdoor unit, which changes temperature and state as it passes through the coil. The result is the removal of heat and moisture from the indoor air as they are transported to the exterior of your home by the refrigerant line-set and condensate drain line. Being paramount for cooling operation and humidity control, my clients frequently ask me about the expected lifespan and average air conditioner coil repair costs associated with AC evaporator coil replacement.

If you’re currently in the market for a new HVAC contractor, we can help you select from the best HVAC companies in the field. 

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One easy way to help your AC evaporator coil at the top of its game and keep energy bills in check is to regularly clean or replace your HVAC system air filters. Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions for this process:

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an AC Evaporator Coil?

AC evaporator coil replacement costs vary based on several factors, but the national average is around $2,450. Typically, homeowners can expect to spend between $1,900 and $3,000 for AC unit evaporator coil replacement from a professional HVAC technician during an AC system repair visit.

AC Evaporator Coil Cost
Average Cost$2,450
Highest Cost$3,000
Lowest Cost$1,900

How Do Costs Differ by HVAC System Type?

The specific type of central AC system can be a cost factor, as your system may include a cased coil, an uncased coil, or a slab coil.

HVAC System TypeCost
Mini-Split (Wall Fan Coil)$1,900 – $2,300
Package Unit (All-In-One)$2,200 – $3,000
Split AC (Cased Coil)$2,300 – $2,700
Split AC (Uncased Coil)$2,500 – $2,900
Split Heat Pump (Air Handler)$2,100 – $2,500

Mini-Split (Wall Fan Coil)

With ultra-high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings and minimally intrusive from-scratch installation, ductless mini-split systems are becoming increasingly popular. Instead of A-coils found in many ducted split systems, this type of system features a wall-mounted fan coil containing the air conditioning system’s blower and evaporator coil. The average cost range for mini-split AC evaporator coil replacement is between $1,900 and $2,300.

Package Unit (All-In-One)

Installing a new evaporator coil in a package unit is a major HVAC repair that can require the disassembly of almost the entire unit. Package units (most commonly installed on rooftops or ground-set) feature two duct connections and contain all of the components for the entire system in a single cabinet. Commonly found in commercial applications and only used on homes in limited regions of the country, package unit SEER ratings are typically lower than those available in split systems. The average cost range for package unit AC evaporator coil replacement is between $2,200 and $3,000.

Split AC (Cased Coil)

Many split systems with indoor furnaces feature an outdoor air conditioning unit containing the condenser coil and an indoor-cased evaporator coil. In this system type, airflow from the furnace is forced through the fins of the cased coil as the refrigerant (sometimes called freon) pumping through the coil absorbs heat from the home’s indoor air. The average cost range for split AC (cased) evaporator coil replacement is between $2,300 and $2,700.

Split AC (Uncased Coil)

Although less common, some split systems with indoor furnaces feature an uncased indoor coil located directly within the duct or concealed in a difficult-to-access location, which is why replacement costs for this type of system are frequently toward the higher end. The average cost range for split AC (uncased) evaporator coil replacement is between $2,500 and $2,900.

Consult your HVAC professional before replacing AC evaporator coils in split systems because sometimes it’s much wiser to replace the outdoor condenser simultaneously.

Split Heat Pump (Air Handler)

This type of split system pairs an outdoor heat pump condensing unit with an indoor air handler containing the blower and evaporator coil. Unlike fossil fuel-based furnace heating, heat pump systems heat your home by transferring heat from the outdoor air to your indoor air (even when it’s freezing outside). The average cost range for split heat pump system evaporator coil replacement is between $2,100 and $2,500.

Related: What is an Evaporator?

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Be careful when considering the replacement of the indoor air handler portion of a split heat pump system. These systems must feature compatible outdoor condensing units and indoor air handlers. Incompatible matchups can prevent your system from cooling properly.

How Does HVAC System Tonnage Affect AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Pricing?

AC evaporator coil replacement cost varies by system tonnage (nominal capacity), as higher tonnage systems feature larger coils than smaller air conditioning systems. With more demanding physical replacement requirements on high-capacity systems, it’s not uncommon to see your HVAC technician accompanied by another technician or apprentice to assist with the project.

Higher tonnage systems also require more refrigerant for proper cooling operation, increasing the total cost associated with AC evaporator coil replacement projects. Older systems may contain R-22 refrigerant listed in the United States Phaseout of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS), featuring steep per-pound pricing.

HVAC System TonnageCost
1.5-ton$1,900 – $2,100
2.0-ton$2,050 – $2,250
2.5-ton$2,200 – $2,400
3.0-ton$2,350 – $2,550
3.5-ton$2,500 – $2,700
4.0-ton$2,650 – $2,850
5.0-ton$2,800 – $3,000

[Insert as Tips Block]

If your central AC system is 15+ years old and contains R-22 refrigerant, it might not be worth the investment required to replace the evaporator coil. Consult your HVAC Professional to see if a system replacement makes more sense.

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Which Factors Impact AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost Estimates?

Above, we’ve outlined the typically expected AC evaporator coil replacement cost estimates. Still, certain factors can significantly impact the total cost of the project. You can expect higher coil costs for brand-name systems. Refrigerant type and charge weight are additional cost factors. Most residential air conditioning systems in the US contain R-410A refrigerant, but older systems only operate with costly R-22 refrigerant. Unit location and service access are additional considerations, as they can each directly impact labor costs.

HVAC company labor rates vary by location, so total AC evaporator coil replacement costs can be affected by the length of time required for the project. Evaporator coil styles and required replacement times differ by HVAC system type, and you can expect some labor variance between cased, uncased, and slab coils. Manufacturer or home warranty policy HVAC coverage (when applicable) may help cover at least a portion of the cost.

HVAC System Brand

Expect to pay more for AC evaporator coil replacements in brand-name systems. As with many industries, the best-known brands typically come with higher costs. In some cases, an experienced HVAC professional can really help in this area. Specific brand pairs such as Amana and Goodman, Trane and American Standard, and others are manufactured and assembled in the same facilities using the same major components – including evaporator coils. Sometimes it’s possible to obtain the same part at a lower price based on the specific sticker on the box. We found the HVAC system brand to impact the total AC evaporator coil replacement cost by $300 to $800.

Refrigerant Type and Weight

Most HVAC systems manufactured within the past 15 years contain R-410A refrigerant (sometimes called coolant). Systems manufactured before that point may contain R-22 refrigerant, which is currently much more costly (when available) due to its limited availability during phaseout. While R-22 alternatives are available, you should be cautious and consult an HVAC professional for associated pros and cons.

The amount of refrigerant required for your unit size (charge weight) is an additional factor, as refrigerant costs reflect the necessary weight in pounds and ounces. We found the refrigerant type and charge weight to impact the total AC evaporator coil replacement cost by $200 to $900.

Unit Location and Service Access

AC evaporator coil replacement costs depend on the location and difficulty of accessing your HVAC equipment. As a professional HVAC technician with decades of experience, believe me when I tell you that HVAC companies charge additional labor fees for difficult access situations for HVAC system tune-ups and repairs.

If your system’s evaporator coil lives in the attic or crawl space, the limited service access could increase replacement times by 2-3 hours. We found the unit location and service access to impact the total replacement cost by $150 to $450.

Labor Rates

AC unit evaporator coil replacement is considered a significant repair and commonly requires multiple hours to complete by at least one professional HVAC technician. You can expect labor rates to vary based on your location, the number of technicians needed, and the time it takes to complete the replacement. We found average labor rates between $75 and $150 per hour.

Warranty Coverage

When facing a significant HVAC system repair or component replacement, warranty coverage may provide some relief. It’s important to note the different types of coverage and how they can benefit you. The manufacturer’s parts warranty coverage will provide the part for replacement but will not cover any related items such as refrigerant, materials, or labor. If a professional recently installed your evaporator coil, it may still be under labor warranty through your HVAC contractor. Extended labor warranties are available from certain manufacturers and third parties, providing options to extend repair labor coverage up to 5-10 years.

Review your policy details for specific coverages and limitations if you have a home warranty policy. Some policies limit repairing companies to contractors within a small network, while others limit the reimbursement amount per pound of refrigerant, etc. Be sure to ask your HVAC company if they work with your specific home warranty policy provider before authorizing work.

Professional vs. DIY AC Evaporator Coil Replacement

I frequently joke with my clients about the inner struggle between my DIY enthusiast roots and my professional HVAC experience as a technician. Unlike others, I’m not afraid to provide my clients with knowledge and recommendations to help save them money when they can complete minor maintenance and repairs without professional help.

Unfortunately, evaporator coil replacement is beyond the typical DIY scope and nearly always a bad idea to attempt as a homeowner for multiple reasons. Coil replacement requires the recovery, recycling, storage, handling, and recharging of refrigerant gas, all closely regulated by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The average handy homeowner will not meet the federal, state, and local requirements or possess the specialized equipment needed for this process.

Coil replacement typically requires a refrigerant recovery machine, recovery cylinder, high-temperature torch with brazing alloy, nitrogen cylinder with regulator, vacuum pump, micron gauge, charging manifold, and more. Failure to adhere to strict manufacturer recommendations during a coil replacement can lead to extensive system damage, complete failure, or personal injury.

Doing AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Yourself

Again, I don’t recommend attempting to replace your AC evaporator coil. Sealed refrigeration systems should only be opened by professional HVAC technicians. You will likely be hard-pressed to find an HVAC contractor willing to provide repairs or service for your system if they determine that repairs were completed (or attempted) by an unqualified professional. We can always tell — trust me. Technically, this would also void the manufacturer’s warranty coverage.

Hiring a Professional for AC Evaporator Coil Replacement

AC evaporator coil replacement is frequently a big undertaking with a big price tag compared to less significant repairs like a condenser fan motor replacement. I always encourage my clients to receive at least three proposals for this type of project.

Major HVAC projects can seem daunting, but Today’s Homeowner has you covered. Here’s an easy step-by-step list to get started:

  1. Find local experts near you: Start with the company you see every six months on your annual HVAC system maintenance visits. Then find at least two more, screening potential companies using resources like reviews, recommendations from family and friends, etc.
  2. Compare apples to apples: Ask for specifics about the scope of work proposed. Ensure each company plans to remove and recycle your old coil, pressure test your refrigerant piping, verify air and moisture removal using a micron gauge, and charge your system based on the manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. Do some homework: Once you’re serious about committing, dig into prospective HVAC companies online to verify they’re well established and have demonstrated a track record of excellent service.
  4. Verify licensing: Some states require special HVAC services licensing or certification. Review the rules for your location and make sure the company you hire is compliant.
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So, Is AC Evaporator Coil Replacement Worth It?

In my experience, replacing a central air conditioner system’s evaporator coil is not always wise. If your coil is currently leaking refrigerant, you do need to take action of some sort. Your HVAC service provider is bound to EPA refrigeration leak repair guidelines and cannot add more than 10% of your system’s refrigerant charge within the same 12-month period without providing a timely corrective action as required by federal law.

While corrective action is needed once you know that your current coil is malfunctioning (leaking), that doesn’t mean you should jump right into evaporator coil replacement. Talk to your HVAC contractor and ask them about the pros and cons. Considering all of the factors, including the condition of your comfort system, energy efficiency ratings, and HVAC unit installation costs, it might make better sense to explore purchasing a completely new unit instead of investing thousands of dollars in a system that may experience additional major component failures soon. 

FAQs About AC Evaporator Coil Replacement

What does the evaporator coil do?

Simply stated, the evaporator coil is one of the major components responsible for heat transfer. The evaporator contains copper or aluminum tubing that refrigerant gas flows through, surrounded by aluminum fins your indoor air flows through. As the air and refrigerant simultaneously pass through the coil, heat (along with humidity) is removed from your indoor air and transferred to outside your home.

What is the life expectancy of evaporator coils?

The manufacturer typically covers new AC system evaporator coils for 5 or 10 years, but this doesn’t mean they will last that long. Factors that reduce coil life expectancy include coastal locations, continuous exposure to high relative humidity, failure to remove air and moisture from within the system during installation, and high concentrations of VOCs in the indoor air.

What are the benefits of replacing my evaporator coil?

Replacing your comfort system’s leaking evaporator coil has several benefits. For starters, you can stop having refrigerant levels topped off, save some money, and keep the EPA happy. Restoring a sealed refrigeration system and removing any air and moisture that made their way in can prevent costly component failures. Sometimes, evaporator coil replacement can increase energy efficiency and improve indoor air quality.

Is it worth replacing an evaporator coil?

Ultimately, this has to be your decision, but an experienced HVAC company can provide you with the information and resources you need to make the best choice for your situation. While evaporative coil replacement on a newer system under warranty is a no-brainer, it might not make financial sense to invest thousands of dollars for a coil replacement in a 25-year-old system prone to additional expensive part failures soon.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Joshua Thompson

Joshua Thompson

Joshua Thompson entered the HVAC industry at age 16 and has spent the two decades since then becoming an expert in the field. He currently works in research and development, providing product and technical support for a team of roughly 75 field technicians and support staff. His career has involved extensive experience in HVAC service, installation, field team management, product development, technical training, load calculations, and system design. When he’s not tinkering with someone’s thermostat, you can find him spending time with his family or playing bass guitar.

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photo of Lora Novak

Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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