HVAC

Don't Push The Limits On Your A/C; Parts Shortage Throws a Wrench in Repairs

Major components needed in air conditioning units like copper, steel, aluminum and ductwork parts are facing major supply shortages.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The kinks in the world's supply chain that started during the pandemic have long yet to unravel.

COVID-19 has triggered a slew of supply issues across the world, especially for computer chips, lumber and even housing.

Now, there's another shortage many probably don't want to see right now in the Texas heat: Air conditioning parts.

Major components needed in air conditioning units like copper, steel, aluminum and ductwork parts are facing major supply shortages.

Because of this, local HVAC businesses are warning consumers not to push their A/C systems to the breaking point this summer.

"We've never had an inventory shortage like this. And maybe it's a tidal wave from last year just finally hitting the shores," said Cory Huffman, owner of Cold Factor Heating and Air in Plano. "My question to people is, how many days are you willing to go without A/C?"

Huffman has helped run his family business for 20 years and told NBC 5 he's never seen anything like this in his industry before.

He said his suppliers are telling him raw materials needed for parts have been impacted by a number of things -- shipping delays at ports, the pandemic slowing down the movement of supply, and even the blockage at the Suez Canal in March.

He said suppliers are putting orders in for parts but manufacturers are telling them there's a wait of up to 6 to 8 weeks. This is causing difficulties in getting repair work done and building new A/C units or systems.

Huffman is worried some units and parts might be hard to find in the next two months as summer heat pushes people's air conditioning to its limits.

"What if components aren't available for three weeks? What do you do? I think demand is going to be higher than the need," he said. "You're going to be stuck calling around and maybe somebody does [have a part] but you may end up paying double because of the demand and shortage."

So what can consumers do?

Huffman advises that if you need something fixed, replaced or even just checked ahead of the heat wave, don't wait. Put that work order in now so there's time to get it taken care of.

As with everything else, be prepared to pay more as demand is driving up the cost for these parts. If you delay maintenance until July or August, you could get hit with a price hike that experts are anticipating will get worse later this summer.

Huffman said businesses are trying to stock up on supplies but are being limited on how much they can buy. So there will be uneven terrain this summer on who has what.

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