Shortage of air conditioning equipment leads to long wait times


Factories closed during the pandemic caused a shortage of air conditioning equipment.

“If we have a really hot summer, we could get desperate,” said Chuck Hooks, service manager at Blaylock Heating & Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Drain Cleaning in Fort Smith.

The plant shutdown resulted in a shortage of air conditioning equipment not only in Arkansas but across the United States, Hooks said.

“There is currently a high demand and a great shortage for just about everything in our field,” said Michael Lytle, Business Project Manager for Wilson’s Heating & Air Conditioning in Van Buren.

Lytle said there is also a shortage of metals for ductwork and air conditioning equipment, which has resulted in prices steadily rising.

Michael Roberts, the owner of Roberts Heat and Air in Booneville, said he struggled to get parts last year.

Equipment that used to take two to four weeks to arrive now takes six to 24 weeks to arrive, Hooks said.

Equipment that used to take two to four weeks to arrive now takes six to 24 weeks to arrive.  When minor clicking and buzzing sounds occur, an air conditioner can often be repaired, but louder sounds like screaming, moaning, clicking, banging, or scratching can mean you need a replacement.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Hooks said.

Hooks ships its equipment from factories in the United States, but said the situation is even worse for people who receive equipment from overseas.

Because of the coronavirus, the United States would not allow ships to dock and unload their supplies.

Hooks recommends that people have a technician examine their air conditioning units before it gets too hot.

“If it was just about limping at the end of last summer, they have to look to the future,” Hooks said.

Lytle said people should always have their air conditioning units checked in the spring and their heaters in the fall.

“If it’s in its final stages, I would recommend considering a replacement before it leaves July 4 and it’s 98 degrees,” Hooks said.

If people wait for their air conditioners to turn off, they could wait weeks for them to be fixed during the hot Arkansas summer.

Roberts said people need to take better care of their air conditioning units this summer.

Most of the actions people can take are simple fixes, such as changing their air filters. Roberts recommended that people change their air filters every month when paying their utility bills.

Not only is there a shortage of air conditioning equipment, there is also a shortage of people working in heating and air, said Roberts. He has struggled to find help for the past three or four years.

Chuck Hooks, service manager at Blaylock Heating & Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Drain Cleaning, said there was a shortage of air conditioning unit parts.

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