CLEVELAND, Ohio – Coronavirus, coupled with a recent heat wave in northeast Ohio, has restricted supplies of air conditioning and parts to repair broken HVAC systems.
As more and more people work from home and temperatures rise, companies say more and more people have decided to upgrade their home air conditioning. Instead of spending money on a nice dinner, they pass that money on to AC. But coronavirus has slowed or even shut down some air conditioning manufacturing facilities, making it difficult to source parts from overseas.
Despite the shortage, the companies surveyed by cleveland.com stated that they could help their customers. Still, supply was a problem across the industry.
“It’s getting harder and harder to get the parts and it’s COVID-related,” said Rich Brown, general manager of Service Experts, a Texas-based national air conditioning and heating installation and repair company in northeast Ohio. He said his company was lucky because it was so big and had no problem getting inventory. “Usually manufacturers will ramp up to June, July and August for the peak of the refrigeration season, and we haven’t seen the increase that we normally make. So the parts are a bit scarcer. “
Jim Mendenhall, general manager of Vent Heating and Cooling in Hinkley, blames the heat wave more for the supply problems than for COVID-19. So far this month it has been 3 1/2 degrees warmer than a typical year in Cleveland, with highs hitting 90 degrees or more nine times, according to the National Weather Service.
“The heatwave definitely put a bit of a strain on inventory levels, even though I haven’t had a situation where I couldn’t help a customer,” he said.
Still, finding replacements for household air conditioners is difficult at the moment, Sal Sidoti, owner and CEO of Sal’s Heating & Cooling & Plumbing & Sewer in North Royalton. He was able to ensure that all of his customers were looked after, but some had to buy more expensive units or switch brands. He said one of his suppliers told him to buy someone else’s air conditioners because of a spring shutdown.
“It piled on top of them just before the summer hit. Now they are choosing their top three air conditioning contractors and others have to go elsewhere, ”he said. “Everyone cleans everyone,” especially when you add the heatwave.
Sidoti said his installations are booked out for a month to five weeks. Customers are complaining and trying to find someone who can get the job done faster. But they’ll be right back because everyone is in the same boat. His company installs air conditioners at night and on weekends and still can’t catch up.
“You’re threatening to cancel and find someone. They just turn around and call us back and say, “Nobody can reach us faster anyway. So we’ll stay with you, “he said.” We’re one of the largest in the country, leave the northeast of Ohio. We have 100 employees here. I wish you the best of luck in finding a 10 man business to fit you in. “
Stores can help their current customers, but the demand is overwhelming.
“I didn’t hire any new customers just so I could be sure we could look after our existing customers,” said Stewart Unsdorfer, owner of Central Heating and Air, with new system installations being the exception to conditioning in Richmond Heights.