heater and air conditioner problems

Hello,
I would really like some answers! I'm a new homeowner and our furnace/AC unit has an installation date of 1994. It seems like a high efficiency unit, but I could be wrong. We moved in in June 2004. The heater and air conditioner worked fine until this summer (July 2006). We change the filters regularly and because of my husband's asthma, we use the 3M filtrete hepa ones we change monthly in winter and every 3 months rest of the year.
It's been no end of problems and I cannot afford a new furnace unit! :-( one company quoted me $2500.00!!! I'd need to refinance the house, which I really really don't want to do right now.
The current problem that I need the most help with is this:
The heater doesn't seem to be responding to the thermostat. We replaced the thermostat with a Honeywell one and no change. Basically the fan blower is on unless you turn the furnace off completely at the switch. It will not heat or cool. If you turn it to auto/on it's always on. When we disconnected the thermostat for a week, the fan stayed on, the entire time.
Here is a description of this summer's problems and our repair guy's comments:
The A/C would not work, it would come on and blow tepid air from the vents. THe unit "froze up" on the inside causing ice crystals on the duct in the basement. The repair guy took some freon out and said our furnace fan wasn't powerful enough (If that were the case, why did it work fine the other 2 summers?!?) His fix worked for ~5 minutes after he left and we called them back, they came back the following week and put the freon back in! The guy said the freon level was low, he called his buddy who had taken the freon out and concluded that our unit wasn't regulating it correctly, again said we needed a new furnace.
My thought was that the guy took the freon out and made it to low and didn't solve the problem. I think the problem may have been that the summer was too hot, and I was trying to set the thermostat too low.
For a few months after that, we had the A/C off it worked once the guy put the freon back in, but... the summer stayed temperate after that and we didn't turn it on again. Until September it was quiet and not running (with the thermostat set to off (not heating or cooling) and the fan set to auto. Then one night, randomly the fan kicked on and that's where we're at now.
Thanks for any suggestions/tips you can offer,
Renee
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The best suggestion I can offer is to talk to your friends and neighbors to find a good HVAC professional. It is not possible for me to guess what all may be a problem, but off hand I would be expecting them to find a slow coolant leak for a start.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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On 30 Sep 2006 07:52:57 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

ask your question in alt.hvac, they are very knowledgeable over there.
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