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Heating and cooling companies grapple with supply shortages during extreme heat

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 22:38:28-04

The Valley is under an Extreme Heat Warning, creating dangerous conditions for those without access to air conditioning.

At what seems like the worst possible time, supply shortages are impacting heating and cooling companies.

The owner of Heath's Air, Heath Bauldry, has been working in the heating and cooling business for more than two decades. He and his technicians drive door to door, making sure Valley customers can cool their homes.

"Here's our capacitor," said technician Christopher Brock. "For now, yes, they are widely available."

"For now" is becoming a common phrase, because for Bauldry and his staff, it's hard to know what will be available as time goes on.

"I used to be able to walk into one supply house and get whatever I need for one week," said Brock. "Now, I have to go make five or six trips to all the supply houses around the Valley."

Sometimes the company even has to order from out of state.

"We search the entire country for parts if we have to," said Bauldry.

Right now, the longest delay they have seen is for a commercial business. The wait for a new unit: 52 weeks.

The staff at Heath's said they haven't seen a delay like that for residential units, but shortages mean homeowners might not get their preferred brand.

For one of the jobs Thursday, Heath's staff had to get flexible duct from four different places just to get the amount they needed.

To make things worse, prices just keep going up.

"I think we saw almost 40% [increase] in air condition products last year alone," said Bauldry.

Heath's has had to raise prices, and they're trying to avoid doing that again.

If they can't find the part a unit needs, staff told ABC15 they will do the very best to make sure customers have a temporary fix.

"We're not going to say there's nothing we can do," said Brock.

"We have a temporary air conditioner we can bring over," said Bauldry. "We also have a company that will deliver temporary air conditioning if that's the case."

But Bauldry urges people to make sure they are maintaining their unit. His best piece of advice: Make sure you're changing the air filter.

Bauldry also recommends keeping an eye out for odd noises, odors or a rise in humidity.

His technicians said if homeowners plan, they'll probably have more options and not be stuck without AC.

“If your [air conditioner is] over 10 years old and you've made a couple repairs in the last couple years, start talking about it,” said Brock.

The company said they also need more staff, and will help train the right person.