One of the biggest questions homeowners ask themselves when faced with a potential air conditioning issue is whether they should repair the problem or just replace the unit altogether. Though it can be a tough decision, there are some signs that repair may just be a waste of money. Here are five signs that you should invest in a new central air conditioner unit.

#1 – It’s More than 15 Years Old

Though many air conditioners can last 10 to 20 years when properly maintained, a good rule of thumb for a system that keeps giving you problems is to replace it if it’s 15 or more years old. After this period of time, there’s a good chance that technology has improved to the point that you can enjoy better efficiency and comfort by switching to a new unit.

#2 – It Doesn’t Turn Off in the Summer

When it’s hot outside, does your air conditioner seem like it runs continuously, or does it run for a little while, shut off, then kick back on later? If it’s the former, and you feel as if your air conditioner is always working, there’s a pretty good chance that your system is either far too small for your home or just too old and inefficient to do the job. In either case, the only real fix is a new unit.

#3 – Your Electricity Bills Have Skyrocketed

Though it’s normal for your utility bills to increase somewhat during the summer months, and it’s even normal for them to go up a bit each year in tandem with increased charges from your provider, if it seems like you’re paying a significantly higher bill than you were this time last summer – or even a few summers ago – your AC could be the culprit. Today’s units offer outstanding SEER ratings and great values, which means you can stay comfortable for less.

#4 – Your AC is Always on the Fritz

If it’s barely halfway through July and you’ve already had to call for HVAC service twice, your air conditioner may be a money pit. If it is frequently breaking down and requiring repairs it is not only frustrating, but it also gets expensive. Many of the internal parts that technicians end up repairing can cost hundreds of dollars, and after a few repairs, you end up with an old AC system with a few new parts that cost just as much as a new system would have. If your AC needs frequent repairs, replace it.

#5 – You’ve Spent More than $5000 in Repairs

There’s a general guideline in the HVAC industry that you should never spend more than $5000 repairing your central air conditioner during its lifespan. Doing so is simply throwing money down the drain. Go back through all your receipts for everything from regular maintenance to repairs, and if that next repair is going to push you over the $5000 mark, consider a replacement, instead.

Though there are some really good arguments for simply carrying out AC repairs when needed, especially if your system is 10 years old or less, the five situations above indicate it may be time to bite the bullet, skip the repairs, and instead choose a brand new central air system.