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Over the next few days, North Texas will experience some of the hottest temperatures in a long time.
But this is the worst time with air-conditioning problems.
Local companies have warned that retrieving parts and scheduling appointments could take weeks due to supply chain issues and staff problems.
Shortages have persisted since last year but local businesses say they are even worse for the HVAC industry.
Steve Stewart, owner of Southern Comfort Mechanical Heating and A/C Specialists in Lewisville tries as hard as he can to stay on top of it.
“Silicone, which is accustomed to sealing around electrical components – three weeks ago there were only eight of them in the metroplex. That’s why we had to bring a supply from Atlanta,” he said, as he checked his inventory on Wednesday. This week, ball valves are in tight supply. So there is a limited supply of it around the metroplex. “
Stewart’s team-like others-faces a shortage of parts due to COVID-19 locks in China, bottlenecks in ports across the country, and other problems.
Many businesses have been trying to stock up on shares since deficits began last year. But it changes week to week.
“So part of the challenge is trying to figure out what’s missing in the backorder. It’s different and it’s moved every week how things are tight,” Stewart said.
Freon, the product that helps your system keep you cool, is another thing that is already and no longer in use and supply.
“410A, which is the current refrigerant that supplies the goods, has gone through a price increase probably every week. It keeps going up just because of the lack of supply chain,” Stewart said. “The other thing is that R22 present in older systems. At times of the year, it has a tight supply so it is in phase out right now. It’s expensive every week. Its presence is becoming increasingly tight. So maybe at the end of the year, it’s very hard to get. ”
There are also staff issues. Stewart said many technicians are retiring and trade schools are not pumping out like many skilled workers.
“The staff is getting tighter and tighter. So across the country, the average age of an HVAC technician is in their late 40s. That’s why a lot of people are retiring from the industry,” he said. “There is a shortage of people and staff. So all together makes things much tighter in front of people.
Because of this, he said it could take two days or longer for many places to send a technician to the homes, depending on the issue.
But two days in this hot summer could be much longer.
“I know that being in a house without AC is pathetic. You can’t think, you can’t move. I was there with my family on my own, which is in part what brought me into the industry. , ”Stewart said.
That’s why it’s important not to wait to call a professional if you have issues.
“We usually see people waiting about three days before they call. First day, you might think there’s an issue and ignore it. On the second day, you might start playing the thermostat or do a thing try and fix it.And then on the third day, you know you have an issue – then you start calling but you have to wait to get a technician there.
While waiting for the repair, you should ask the business if you can borrow a portable unit. Some businesses have units available to customers.
But one of the biggest things you can do for yourself – and it’s probably the most forgotten – is to keep your air filter clean.
Alanna Quillen NBC 5
Change it every three months max because if you don’t, Stewart says it can clog your system and cause problems.
“So this is the one that was taken out of someone’s house yesterday, it’s been more than three months since it was repaired,” said Stewart, holding up a dirty filter. “But what it can do with the system, it’s like putting on a lot of face masks, and then trying to run a marathon. It’s not fun. The system struggles.”
Another important tip is to do maintenance on your system, even if you don’t experience any problems. Don’t wait until it breaks.
Most systems need to be checked twice a year as a standard form of maintenance. If you call and schedule a maintenance appointment soon, it will put you on a low priority list but at least you have a quick wait.
Deficits are also expected to worsen by the end of the summer as demand and multiple triple digit days continue to put a strain on the systems.
“Last year, we had about four days that were over 100 degrees. This year, I’ve lost count of the number of days that are over 100 degrees,” Stewart said. “That’s why those systems run. the longer the run the harder it is to keep up, keep the houses cool. “
But some industry leaders say these supply lines could last until 2024 or 2025 before we can get back to where things were before the pandemic.
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