SALISBURY, MD- Air conditioning materials are in low supply and high demand as production recovers from covid-19 leads to longer waiting times for parts and repairs.
OEM manufacturers were slow to make and ship parts, which put pressure on the supply chain, resulting in a shortage of AC units in Maryland and the East Bank.
HVAC Services in Salisbury say they are trying to get around lower inventories but find it frustrating that supply is not catching up with demand in the face of the record-breaking heat.
“We were hoping for a normal wait for these things, so it’s disappointing to see these backups happening again,” said Real HVAC marketing and sales assistant Kayla Harrison.
Harrison told 47ABC that heavy use of air conditioning during the heat wave has resulted in many units having problems, and parts for repair can often be gone for weeks.
“It’s hard, especially if an elderly person or a sick person calls and there’s nothing I can do to help them at the time,” she said.
Chris Walls, vice president of Real HVAC Sales, says his companies had many of the materials in stock, but not all of them were available.
“Rreally now i would say we are good for the next 30 to 40 days of what we have now maybe it is then I go being a bit of a scramble,” Walls said.
Walls thinks his businesses have some leeway before it is completely disrupted, and says he’s currently working on 5-6 units a week.
But his company can’t make the parts itself, instead relying on distributors such as United Products in Salisbury, who are currently in serious backlog due to the shortage.
United Product Sales Manager Bill Scherer told 47abc that residential units were 10-12 weeks late, while commercial units were falling even further behind.
Walls says they had to get creative to help people keep cool while they wait for the parts.
“We’re trying to manipulate something, maybe use a generic motor so that people can have air conditioning,” he said.
Wall and Harrison say they’ve seen a number of problems with thermostatic units, which can make an entire system useless if compromised.
“They have little circuit breakers that stop working and can shut down your whole system and have to wait 2 to 3 weeks is very frustrating for people because it’s this little bit, but it keeps them from having AC,” Harrison said.
Walls told 47ABC the deficit doesn’t make new parts only harder to find, but also more expensive.
“Unfortunately, it’s like anything else that we’ve hit or anything else we’ve hit and we’re not trying to pass that on to the customer,” Walls said.
He believes that the best course of action for customers is to do their best to maintain their current HVAC systems, by performing preventive maintenance on cheaper parts such as air filters, before they break down and lead to more expensive repairs, with longer waiting times for parts.