If your air conditioner isn't quite working as well as it used to, you may be wondering if it's time to replace or repair your current unit. If you are unsure whether getting a completely new system is the right choice for you, you need to check out these four questions. They'll help you determine the right solution to your cooling needs.

Will a Repair Fix the Problem?

In some cases, if your air conditioning unit isn't working as well as it should, you may simply need to have the HVAC system serviced and repaired. Consider how long it has been since you've needed a repair. If you've been calling every year, repairs may only be prolonging the inevitable: you need a new unit. On the other hand, if your system doesn't require much repair, a good tune-up may be exactly what the system needs to get back its efficiency.

Besides considering how often your system has broken down, you should consider how old the unit is. In general, central air conditioning units last a minimum of about 10 years. If your system is 10 years or older, the problem is probably general wear and tear, which can't effectively be repaired. The system simply has reached the end of its life, and it will never be as efficient as it was once.

Is a Window Unit Beneficial?

With your central air conditioning not working, it's also a good time to consider if you even need central air conditioning. Constant repairs and replacements of such big systems are expensive to buy and run. However, window units are also an option, and some are portable, so you can move them from room to room. The best thing about these units is they are cheap to buy and run.

Of course, window units aren't as effective as central air conditioning because each unit really only cools one room. You can't cool you entire house with one single unit, but you can find relief from the heat by placing one in your living room, bedroom, or bathroom. The larger the room, the larger the system you'll need or else the room will stay too warm.

How Much Maintenance Is Required?

Central air conditioning units require a bit more maintenance to keep them working, and it's imperative you stay up to date on maintenance to extend the life of your expensive system. On the other hand, window units require little maintenance. You may need to drain water and clean the filter occasionally, but you don't need to worry about lubricating and replacing parts. Because they are so cheap, it's more common to get a new window unit when yours breaks.

Whether you have a window unit or central air conditioning, you need to pay attention to potential problems. If you hear uncommon noises or smell musty odors, it's a sign that something isn't working. It may be as simple as a small repair, or it may mean replacement is necessary. Your HVAC technician can help you make the right choice.

Are There Special Features You Want?

Newer central air conditioning units have special features you won't find on older models, and you can't add these features with a repair. Therefore if you are interested in new features, replacement is best. One of the great features you can get is zoned cooling. Zoned cooling allows you to cool some parts of your home only without straining the system.

Other features you may desire include humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air purifiers. These help treat the air as it is recycled through your home. Moisture is added or pulled from the air depending on your environment, and allergens are removed, making it great for people with asthma and allergies.

If your system isn't working as well as it once did, it's time to consider repair or replacement. If you would like more information regarding air conditioning repair and replacement, contact a technician in your area today.