PHOENIX — While the country may be ready to put COVID-19 in the past and look to the future, another consequence of the pandemic has been hitting almost every manufacturing industry and is now being felt by consumers at home.
Triple-digit temperatures will be the norm in the Valley in a few weeks.
Air conditioning companies are now struggling to find the parts their customers need for installs or maintenance thanks, in a large part, to COVID-19.
Mike Donley, the owner of Donley AC and Plumbing, is doing his best to meet his customer’s demands.
“So far, we’ve been able to fill the demands,” said Donley. “We’ve been able to take care of our customers.”
Genesis of the Shortage
Many industry analysts point to two factors that started the shortage in material goods.
The first came when factories and manufacturers closed or reduced the number of employees to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19. This slowed everything from the production of raw materials to finished goods waiting to be shipped.
The second part of the birth of the materials shortage was the high demand for manufactured goods as Americans took on more to-do lists around the house. The demand for durable goods rose 3.4% by January 2021.
Another factor in the materials shortage was the more active-than-normal winter weather that affected parts of the country.
Storms in January and February caused factories to close and made road and air travel impossible at times in some locations.
The country is now feeling the effects of the decisions made at the height of the pandemic, as a slowdown in production has hit the wholesale level.
What used to take one phone call or one click on the computer, now takes multiple phone calls, sometimes to companies that Mike Donley rarely used in the past, just to secure routine maintenance parts to fill customer orders.
“We have to try multiple options to actually locate equipment that will work in certain situations,” said Donley.
What does this mean for us?
While focusing on the HVAC industry, customers are sometimes having to wait longer for new A.C. unit installs as companies spend more time looking for parts.
While Donley AC and Plumbing customers have been spared longer waits, Donley suggests getting that regular AC inspection done sooner rather than later.
“Really, the most important thing for customers is to get your unit checked now,” advised Donley. “Go out and listen to it, if it’s making a racket, get somebody out there now; catch a small problem now before it becomes a big one.”
No one knows when the supply and demand factors will begin to level out. The further we get into the summer; chances are the longer and more expensive repairs will cost if they are not tackled early.
As always: remember to change your filter every month.
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