Howdy. I've been poking around the forums here trying to learn more about my situation and I've found the information to be quite helpful, but I'd like to ask the experts here for their opinion.

Our townhouse in central New Jersey is about 17 years old and still has the original furnace and a/c unit. Over the last few days, I noticed that when the air came on, it had a damp or stale smell to it. I checked the filter and noticed there was water underneath the furnace where the blower(?) is. It wasn't pouring in, but was dripping off the interior sides of the unit and from the outside of the blower housing. Since I would wipe it and it would reappear, I figured it was condensation related. It doesn't happen all the time, but I'm guessing that's due to air temp, humidity, etc.

I called PSE&G to come out to look at it and he looked the unit over. He hooked up some gauges to the compressor and said everything appeared fine with it. Inside, he found the condensate line was not plugged up. He found that the drip pan inside was rusted through in some spots. He said it was attached to the coils inside and when asked for a guess as far as replacement said $1500, but that was just a guess. I'd have to call their parts people and find out from them. He also mentioned (did not push) unit replacement. Would this pan be attached in this manner? The unit was not opened up enough to really see much of anything besides the drip pan which looked to be in bad shape. I'm guessing this is the cause of the slight odor? I can only really smell it in the rooms closest to the unit, upstairs I don't smell anything.

Now, $1,500 seemed high to me, but I really don't know anything about HVAC. I'm not sure if it makes sense to replace the unit or just have it serviced. I don't know how long something like this is supposed to last. It doesn't seem to be inefficient to me and people fall over when I tell them how little my gas and electric bills are.

The tech mentioned that if I did choose to replace the unit, I may consider replacing the furnace at the same time. He mentioned that if I just did the a/c and then I had to replace the furnace down the road, I'd have to pay labor on them removing the a/c system and re-installing it, which makes sense. I did have a tech out a few months ago for the furnace, and he said it looked like it was in great shape and should last me awhile. We'll probably only be here for another 2 years tops, but at that point the unit would be almost 20 years old and I think a new(er) unit would be a strong selling point. The wife takes the opposite standpoint and thinks it would be better to just replace it because we don't plan on being here longterm.

The tech was very nice...said the problem didn't seem to be a major catastrophe and would not harm the furnace because it did not have a circuit board. He said I could get through the summer with it and maybe repair/replace in the fall. He advised me to shop around for prices on both the repair and the replacement.

What do you folks think? I'm sorry this is so long winded, but I just figured if you had more information you may be better able to help me. Thanks in advance to all who read this far, and I look forward to learning something new here.