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Question DetailsAsked on 9/21/2016

How much should it cost to replace an a/c evaporator coil and the condensate pan?

I called a Northern California company to assess my leaking A/C. When asked about the barge, I was told, they'd just come out to give me a quote. The tech stated I had a few options. I waited a week, left a VM to inquire about the quote, the next day, I received a 2-line item quote: $3200 1) "Quote includes recovery of existing refrigerant. Includes removal and disposal of existing evaporator coil. Includes installation of new condensate pan. Includes installation of new evaporator coil. Includes installation of new liquid line drier. Includes making all connections to heater unit and evaporator coil. Includes pressure testing system with dry nitrogen. Includes charging of the system with new R-410A refrigerant. Includes testing of the system." The 2nd line item states if the quote is not approved within 30 days, they'll charge me $95 for the service. Of course, none of these line items were detailed. How much should I expect to pay for this service?

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ARRRRGH - Angies List system is removing paragraph breaks again - to make readable, copy and paste the answer into some text program and insert a Return or two at every place it shows PPPPPP.Three parts (or more) to your question here:
PPPPPP1) I would not expect more detail than the above in the quote - commonly quote would just say replace evaporator coil (and pan if it did not come with it - commonly does) and dryer canister and test system, which would leave testing for leaks and adding the refrigerant as an assumed as part of the test - so I would say his detail level is actually probably better than usual. Only significant thing left out is whether he is using OEM or aftermarket parts (I recommend OEM). PPPPPP2) if he came out only to "give a quote" and did not notify you up front that there was a fee for that, then you do not have to pay the $95 if you do not take the bid. You did not expect to pay a fee, so there was no contract between you - plus I am sure there are California laws regarding having to pre-notify about charges for quotes or bids - were when I worked there long ago and I am sure they have not gotten less strict with their regulations since then. PPPPPPHowever, if you called him to ASSESS or to diagnose the problem and he spent any time diagnosing it (as opposed to only writing up a quote), then you fairly owe the reasonable $95 diagnosis charge, and he is just waiving it (which it is common to do) IF you have him do the actual repair within 30 days. PPPPPP3) $3200 - not knowing what size A/C you are talking about or how old - is getting into the range for a complete A/C replacement for a 2 to maybe 3 ton standard efficency (minimum EPA allowed SEER rating) unit. Commonly in the $750-1000 or a bit more range for replacing the coil/pan IF the coil was under manufacturer warranty (so the actual coil is "free" to you, or prorated discounted) - recent posts in the Home > HVAC link in Browse Projects indicates commonly more in the $1500 or more range if the evaporator coil was not under warranty. PPPPPP4) I am surprised he did not quote a new unit cost as well - you might ask for that - because if your coil went out hopefully the A/C system is at leat 5 and hopefully 10 years old, so probably past its half-life and at the point where if considering $3000 for a repair, you might think about a new unit with new warranty and better operating efficiency than repairing the old one. Many previous questions with answers about that issue in the Home > HVAC link above as well, and about the economic tradeoff and return on investment and such. PPPPPPP5) In your shoes I would be looking for free quotes from at least two more vendors for repair (replace evaporator coil/pan/dryer) and also for new replacement, for comparison. If another well-rated and reviewed HVAC vendor comes in cheaper then might be worth paying this guy the $95 - though of course that would also mean changing to the new provider for future maintenance, so you would have to consider that in evaluating the various bids. However, you are NOT committed to this guy - either for the repair or the replacement, and for $3000 range job you certainly should be getting competing quotes.PPPPPPPBTW - if looking at new unit, I would also be looking at whether the lineset (tubing) should be replaced as well - depending on age and corrosion level.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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