Evaporator Coil vs. AC Unit Replacement: Cost Comparison and Considerations

If your AC unit has been acting up, you may think that it’s time to replace it. However, have you considered that you may just need to replace the evaporator coil?

In today’s blog post, our team at Diamondback will explain what evaporator coils are, the signs you need an evaporator coil replacement and much more.

Continue reading to learn more.

What Does the Evaporator Coil Do?

The evaporator coil in an air conditioning unit that absorbs heat from the indoor air. As hot air passes over the coil, the refrigerant inside the coil absorbs the heat from the air, which causes the refrigerant to evaporate into a gas. The air is then circulated back into the room, while the refrigerant gas is transported to the outdoor unit, where it is turned back into a liquid (due to compression).

The evaporator coil is a crucial component in the air conditioning system because it removes heat and humidity from the air, which helps create a comfortable indoor environment. Without the evaporator coil, an air conditioning system could not cool a room or maintain a consistent temperature.

Signs You Should Schedule an Evaporator Coil Replacement

The evaporator coil in your AC system typically lasts several years but can eventually wear out or become damaged over time. Here are some telltale signs that may indicate that an evaporator coil needs to be replaced:

Reduced Cooling Capacity

If you notice that your air conditioning system is not cooling your living space as effectively as it used to, it could be a sign that the evaporator coil is malfunctioning.

Ice Buildup

If you see ice buildup on the evaporator coil, it could indicate a problem with the refrigerant or airflow, which can cause the coil to freeze up and stop working. However, there are multiple reasons why there may be some ice buildup on your evaporator coil, including:

  1. Low refrigerant levels: If your AC system has low refrigerant levels, it can cause the evaporator coil to become too cold and freeze.
  2. A dirty air filter: A dirty or clogged air filter can restrict the airflow through the AC system, causing the evaporator coil to become over-cooled, forming ice.
  3. Damage to the blower motor: The evaporator coil can become too cold and freeze if your AC system’s blower motor is not working correctly.
  4. Blocked or damaged ductwork: Your evaporator could become too cold and freeze if the ductwork in your home is blocked or damaged. This freeing occurs because damage to the ductwork can cause the airflow through the AC system to be restricted.

Rust or Corrosion

Over time, the evaporator coil can become corroded or rusted, which can cause leaks and reduce its efficiency.


If your air conditioning system is more than 10 to 15 years old, it may be time to replace the evaporator coil, as well as other components in the system, as they can wear out over time.

Suppose you suspect that your evaporator coil needs to be replaced. In that case, contacting a professional HVAC technician, like one of our team members at Diamondback, who can identify the problem and recommend the best course of action is essential. 

They may recommend replacing the entire air conditioning system if it is too old or damaged, or they may be able to replace just the evaporator coil if it is the only component that needs to be replaced.

Should I Replace the Evaporator Coil or the Whole Unit?

Sometimes, replacing the coil in an AC unit is not possible or prudent. Replacement can result in a mismatch between your evaporator and condenser coils. Such a mismatch can result in a less efficient system with a shorter lifespan, meaning you may have to replace the entire AC unit sooner rather than later.

In general, replacing the entire unit may be more cost-effective if the repair cost, including labor and any additional parts or upgrades, is more than half the cost of a new AC unit. 

Additionally, if the AC unit is more than 10 to 15 years old, it may be nearing the end of its useful life, and replacing the entire unit may be a better long-term solution.

If the AC unit is relatively new and the other components are in good condition, replacing just the condenser coil may be more cost-effective. However, replacing the entire unit may be more cost-effective if the AC unit is old or has other significant problems.

Cost to Replace an Evaporator Coil: Price Factors

The cost to replace an HVAC condenser coil depends on several unique factors, including the size and type of the unit, the type of coil being replaced, and the unit’s location.

That being said, it’s important to remember that the cost may not include other expenses associated with the replacement, such as labor costs, refrigerant costs, or additional repairs or upgrades that may be needed. It’s always best to consult with a professional HVAC technician who can provide an accurate estimate based on the specific needs of your system.

In addition, some HVAC manufacturers may offer warranties that cover the HVAC coil replacement cost if it fails within a certain period after installation. It’s worth checking with your manufacturer to see if your system is covered under warranty, as this could significantly reduce the replacement cost.

Schedule an Evaporator Coil Replacement With Diamondback — Conclusion

In conclusion, deciding whether to replace the evaporator coil or the entire AC unit can be a difficult choice for homeowners. Replacing just the evaporator coil may be more cost-effective in some situations. Replacing the whole unit is a better long-term solution if the AC unit is old or has other significant problems. 

So, is it worth replacing your evaporator coil? Yes, but only in certain situations.

Ultimately, it’s essential to consult with a professional HVAC technician to assess the system’s condition and provide a recommendation based on your specific needs and budget. With their help, you can make an informed decision that will keep your home cool and comfortable for years to come.

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