Hello everyone. I have a very general question, and of course, there is no right or wrong answer to this. But I'm looking for advice or opinions on my situation.

I have a 20 year old house that still has the original furnace and A/C. I'm expecting to have to replace them at any time given the original lifespan of 15-20 years for the units. I live in New Jersey, which means that I need both A/C and furnace to get through the year. I believe the equipment that I have is Trane.

I just found that the A/C has some type of leak in it so that coolant is constantly leaking out. I found this out by having 3lbs of coolant added only to have it completely leak out within a day. So that's a pretty big leak.

The local shop that I've used a number of times is estimating $150-$250 to do a full leak check to figure out where the leak is coming from. Now, I know that's expensive, but they do good work, and I'm hesitant to find a cheaper contractor.

But, the big issue is do I bother spending the money on the leak check, or do I just consider replacing the A/C unit considering it's age and effeciency? Granted, a full new system is going to be much higher, like $7000 if I do the furnace and A/C at the same time. But, I could also find out that the leak is a minor part that is easily replaced and be good for another year or more. Also, it's getting to be cooler now, so the A/C will not be used as much.

I guess what I'm looking for is are there any other factors that I'm overlooking? I hate to throw away $250 just to find out that the condenser or coils need replacing, which would push me in the direction of the replacement.

I'm sitting on the fence either way because I'd love to get a new system that is more effecient but i hate to spend the money unless it is necessary.

Any thoughts?