As the temperatures go up, air conditioning units start humming away. And this year, prices are going up as well. We want to explain how the HVAC supply shortages are effecting prices and services for Pennsylvania residents and what you can expect as the summer heat continues.
Is there an air conditioner shortage?
Yes, factories making air conditioners shut down during the pandemic. Now, the supply chain for manufacturing air conditioning units and HVAC systems has been disrupted. This is causing a shortage and delays for customers requesting new air conditioning units and repairs.
Shortages of air conditioning units, heat pumps, and other parts are currently affecting places HVAC services in Florida, Texas, California, Nevada, Arizona, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and nearly every other state.
Similar to other industries that rely on raw materials, such as construction, automotive, appliance and furniture manufacturing, companies producing HVAC equipment are strongly effected by the current shortage in raw materials. Manufacturers are reporting difficulty sourcing enough sheet metal, motors, circuit boards, and copper coils to make all the HVAC equipment needed. So, since the factories got up and running again, production has been slow because the materials required are lacking.
At the beginning of the summer, some areas were already reporting the price of air conditioning to be 20% higher than it was in 2020. The scarcity is having a wider impact than just prices, too. For example, 68% of building contractors reported shortages of HVAC equipment in the month of May, which is delaying new construction and projects.
Why is HVAC Repair so Expensive Lately?
HVAC repairs have become more expensive because the price of materials and labor has gone up. At the same time, demand for air conditioning services has risen with sweltering summer temperature and the frequency of record heatwaves. Let’s take a closer look at these factors that are effecting costs in the heating and air conditioning industry and causing a nationwide price spike.
↑ Demand for HVAC Repair & New Equipment
Cities across the country have been experiencing record-breaking temperatures in the triple digits for weeks, putting a strain on older HVAC systems and causing more homeowners to rely heavily on air conditioning. Right now, the demand for AC repairs is through the roof and HVAC techs in many states are working hard to keep up with a growing backlog of services requests.
This graph is a basic illustration of the economic factors that are currently affecting manufacturing prices in many industries, including air conditioning and HVAC production. (Numbers included are simply demonstrative.)
↓ Supply of Materials for Building HVAC Equipment
When manufacturing stopped or slowed because of the pandemic, it caused a great deal of interruption in the production and transportation of basic materials. Then, as businesses opened up, demand suddenly surged for all types of raw materials. Following the rules of economics, prices rise when supply is low and demand is high. This is exactly what is happening now and causing costs for steel, cement, lumber, aluminum, and other materials.
↓ Availability of Labor
On top of the material shortages, a labor shortage is simultaneously affecting some service providers. A lack of qualified workers is causing delays in services, especially as demand has picked up again. Similarly, this is pushing up wages and labor charges.
This graph is a basic illustration of the effect of a labor shortage on wages, and indirectly on the cost of services. (Numbers included are simply demonstrative.)
↑ Cost of Fuel and Insurance for Service Vehicles
To make matters worse, the cost to buy, insure, and maintain HVAC service vehicles have gone up along with gas prices.
What Pennsylvania Homeowners Can Expect
Homeowners in the Commonwealth may need to be more patient than usual. Requests for air conditioning replacement and repairs are handled as soon as possible considering the lead time for the delivery of parts and equipment and availability of technicians. The shortage of supplies may mean that wait time for services is longer than usual and many local companies are reporting a growing backlog of service requests from customers. It may take a few weeks for the supply chain issues to get ironed out and for workers to respond the large amount of service calls.
In Pennsylvania, the summer is already the busiest time for HVAC service providers and this summer is no exception. The best way to avoid getting stuck in the heat is to keep your air conditioning system well maintained. Change the HVAC filter regularly, check to make sure the electrical breaker is working and that lines to the unit aren’t frozen. If you notice a problem with your air conditioning, turn it off immediately and call your technician.
In general, we encourage Pennsylvania customers to plan and schedule ahead whenever possible.
Related Article – Heatwaves & Electrical Shortages: How to Cool Your Home More Efficiently.
Certified HVAC Technicians Serving Local Homeowners – AQM
AQM and other local HVAC companies are working hard to get out to customers as soon as possible and to keep costs down for homeowners.