(NAPSI)óFaced with a costly repair bill, itís natural to ask whether to repair or replace a cooling system. The following questions can help you make an informed decision.

How old is your system? Industry averages suggest an air-conditioning system should last 12 to 15 years with regular maintenance and service. If your current system is approaching the 12-year mark, it makes sense to investigate the benefits of a new system and how they could help cover the up-front investment.

What is the nature of the repair? Repairs that require the replacement of system components, particularly on older equipment, may result in a mismatched system. Components that donít match can decrease system efficiency, compromise comfort and shorten the compressor life span. Therefore, itís important to know the full impact of a repair and which components it affects.

How frequently does your system need to be repaired? Frequent repairs might indicate itís time to replace your system, especially if itís older and the repairs are progressively more expensive. The money saved in repairs can help offset the cost of a new system.

What is your system efficiency rating? When it comes to cooling, air conditioners and heat pumps are rated according to the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). A higher SEER rating means increased efficiency and reduced operating costs. Todayís new air-conditioning systems are over 50 percent more efficient than systems manufactured 10 years ago. So if youíre concerned about utility bills and expensive repairs, consider the energy savings a new system offers.

Are you experiencing uneven cooling, or is your system noisy? Hot and cool spots indicate your cooling system may need upgrading. Excessive noise could signal your system is working too hard to keep up with your homeís cooling demands.

Would you benefit from new features? New air-conditioning systems offer a variety of features. Two-stage cooling, dehumidifiers and humidifiers, and ultraviolet lights can increase comfort, decrease energy costs and improve the indoor air quality in your home.

How long do you plan to stay in your home? If your system is still working and youíre planning to move, talk with your real estate agent to discuss the pros and cons of repairing your existing system or installing a new system before placing your home on the market.

Has a trained technician assessed your system? A trained technician knows what to look for and can assess your system in terms of performance, efficiency and your comfort level. Every situation is different, so it makes sense to ask a professional to help you with your decision.

If replacing your system seems appropriate, your contractor can explain the importance of efficiency and sound ratings, load calculations, comfort features and warranties. When youíre ready to install a new system, consider the benefits of a new, energy-efficient air conditioner or heat pump system, such as the Acclimate Series from the Luxaire brand of Johnson Controls. To learn more about energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) products, visit www.luxaire.com, www.youtube.com/LuxaireHVAC and @LuxaireHVAC on Twitter or call (877) 874-7378.

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)