It is not too much of a surprise that the old heat pump went out. Last summer it was making this really strange noise. It woke us up in the middle of the night and it pretty much sounded like we had a bunch of unruly ghosts at first. The sound was pretty much like the sound effects in a ghost movie. We managed to make it through the end of summer without calling someone who did hvac repair in NYC. That was not really necessary, but it was definitely helpful not to have to make the decision all at once. Of course I managed to get my cousin Bob to drive up here from Pennsylvania. I promised to pay for the gas he would use, because he was going to know what I needed to do. You really can not always trust a contractor to tell you the whole truth about this sort of thing. At any rate he looked at the thing and told me that it did not really make much sense to pay to get it fixed.
The system was close to twenty years old and the repairs that it needed were both going to be expensive and they were going to be unlikely to last long enough to make the cost sensible. It is just like an old car with a quarter of a million miles on the odometer. At that point the car is certain to start breaking down and it is going to be very expensive to keep it on the road. In fact it simply becomes impractical to keep putting money in a car which is not really worth very much money at that point. When a car has a book value of four hundred dollars, you do not spend a thousand dollars to fix it.