how much does it cost to replace an ac contactor


The Cost of Replacing an AC Contactor

Are you experiencing issues with your air conditioning system? Is it not turning on or off properly? One common component that may need replacement is the AC contactor. The AC contactor is a vital part of your air conditioning unit that controls the flow of electricity to the compressor and the condenser fan motor. Over time, due to wear and tear or electrical problems, the contactor may need to be replaced. In this article, we will discuss the cost of replacing an AC contactor and the factors that can affect the overall expenses.

Understanding the AC Contactor

Before we dive into the cost of replacing an AC contactor, it is essential to understand what an AC contactor is and its role in your air conditioning system. The AC contactor is an electromechanical switch that controls the flow of electricity to the compressor and the condenser fan motor. It is typically located inside the electrical control panel of your outdoor unit.

When the thermostat signals the air conditioning unit to start, the contactor receives a low-voltage signal from the thermostat and closes the high-voltage circuit to the compressor and the condenser fan motor. This allows power to flow and activates the components needed for cooling your home.

The Signs of a Failing AC Contactor

Over time, due to various factors, including voltage fluctuations, dust accumulation, and continuous usage, the AC contactor may start to fail. Recognizing the signs of a failing contactor is crucial to prevent further damage to your air conditioning system. Here are a few common signs to look out for:

1. Failure to Start or Turn Off

If you notice that your air conditioning unit either fails to start or turn off, it could indicate an issue with the contactor. The contactor may become stuck in the closed or open position, preventing the proper operation of your air conditioning system.

2. Buzzing or Clicking Noises

A failing contactor may produce unusual buzzing or clicking noises when the air conditioning unit is running. These noises can be a result of arcing or electrical malfunctions within the contactor.

3. Inconsistent Cooling

If your air conditioner isn't consistently cooling your home, the contactor may be at fault. A failing contactor can cause intermittent power supply to the compressor or the condenser fan motor, resulting in inconsistent cooling performance.

4. Electrical Issues

A malfunctioning contactor can cause electrical problems, such as frequent tripping of the circuit breaker or blown fuses. These issues occur when the contactor is unable to handle the electrical load required for the air conditioning system's operation.

If you experience any of these signs, it is advisable to have a professional HVAC technician inspect your air conditioning unit and determine if the contactor needs replacement.

Finding the Right AC Contactor

When it comes to replacing a faulty AC contactor, it is crucial to find the right replacement part. AC contactors come in different sizes, configurations, and voltage ratings, and it is essential to choose the one that matches your air conditioning unit's specifications. Here are the steps to help you find the right AC contactor:

1. Identify the Current Contactor

Take note of the model number and specifications of your current AC contactor. This information is usually found on the contactor itself or in the air conditioning unit's documentation. Knowing the specifics of your existing contactor will help you find a suitable replacement.

2. Check the Voltage and Amperage

Ensure that the replacement contactor has the same voltage rating as your current one. The voltage rating can usually be found on the contactor's label or in the unit's documentation. Additionally, consider the amperage requirements and choose a contactor that can handle the electrical load of your air conditioning system.

3. Consult a Professional

If you are unsure about the specifications or compatibility of the replacement contactor, it is always recommended to consult an HVAC professional. They have the expertise to guide you in selecting the correct contactor and ensure a seamless replacement process.

The Cost of Replacing an AC Contactor

Now that we understand the significance of the AC contactor and how to choose the right replacement, let's talk about the cost of replacing an AC contactor. The cost can vary depending on several factors, including:

1. Contactors Price Range

The cost of AC contactors can vary depending on the quality, brand, and specific voltage and amperage requirements. On average, a contactor can range in price from $20 to $150. Higher-quality contactors tend to be more expensive but offer better reliability and longevity.

2. Labor Costs

If you hire a professional HVAC technician to replace the AC contactor, you will need to consider labor costs. The labor costs can vary based on your location, the complexity of the replacement process, and the contractor's rates. On average, expect to pay between $100 and $300 for the labor involved in replacing an AC contactor.

3. Additional Repairs

In some cases, when the contactor fails, it can lead to damage to other components within the air conditioning system. If additional repairs or replacements are necessary, such as fixing electrical connections or replacing damaged wires, it will add to the overall cost.

It is important to note that the cost mentioned above is a general estimate and can vary depending on your specific circumstances, such as the type of air conditioning system, its age, and any additional complexities involved in the replacement process.

Replacing the AC Contactor: DIY vs. Professional

Given the potential costs associated with replacing an AC contactor, you may be wondering if it is a job you can tackle yourself or if it requires professional assistance. While some homeowners with experience in electrical work may choose to replace the contactor themselves, it is generally recommended to hire a professional for several reasons:

1. Safety Concerns

Working with electricity can be hazardous, especially if you are not familiar with the necessary safety precautions. A professional HVAC technician has the expertise and training to handle electrical components safely, minimizing the risk of accidents or injuries.

2. Precision and Expertise

Replacing an AC contactor involves intricate electrical connections and proper configuration. HVAC professionals have the knowledge and experience to handle the replacement precisely, ensuring that the new contactor is installed correctly and functions optimally.

3. Warranty and Guarantees

If you hire a professional HVAC technician to replace the AC contactor, they typically provide warranties or guarantees on their work. This means that if any issues arise after the replacement, they will rectify it at no additional cost to you.

By hiring a professional, you not only ensure a safe and accurate replacement but also have peace of mind knowing that your air conditioning system is in the hands of a qualified expert.


In conclusion, the cost of replacing an AC contactor can vary based on factors such as the contactor's price range, labor costs, and the need for additional repairs. On average, you can expect to spend between $120 and $450, including the cost of the contactor and professional labor. However, it is essential to remember that these figures are estimates and can differ depending on your specific circumstances.

Recognizing the signs of a failing contactor, finding the right replacement, and considering the advantages of hiring a professional HVAC technician are crucial steps in ensuring a successful replacement process. By addressing a faulty AC contactor promptly, you can prevent further damage to your air conditioning system and maintain a cool and comfortable home.


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