Local HVAC companies struggle to keep up with demand for air conditioning

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Across the state of Alabama, air conditioning repair and installation companies have experienced a spike in calls due to heat and struggled to get parts on time due to supply chain issues. Some local HVAC companies are following these trends.

Jared Elmore, a supervisor with 4 Seasons Heating & Air in Lanett, said business has been crazy during the recent heatwave.

“It’s non-stop,” he said. “The most interesting part of it is the lack of equipment. It’s having to find the equipment to actually do the jobs that we have scheduled. We have people calling every day.”

Elmore also said 4 Seasons Heating & Air is having difficulty finding enough employees to work. While he said he doesn’t know why this is the case, he said it might have something to do with inflation increasing the cost of living.

“The cost of living has gone up so much that paying people to keep up with the cost of living is… people want more money now,” he said. “…We can’t hire someone off the street with no knowledge of our business and pay them what they want to be paid.”

Despite getting so many calls, 4 Seasons Heating & Air has been able to keep up with all of them, Elmore said.

“Sometimes it takes three or four supply houses to find the stuff we have to have, and it takes working Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.

Elmore said it’s normal for his business to be open on weekends during the summer.

“This summer, it picked up a lot earlier,” he said. “This is the first year we’ve really had trouble finding the materials that we need to do the job. It’s not just units; it’s people building new houses … anything down to filters is hard to find right now.”

Elmore said workers from other HVAC companies he’s spoken to are having similar problems.

Bryan Seymour, owner of Seymours Heating & Air LLC in Valley, said his business has also been very busy lately and struggling to keep up with calls. Seymour said his business has received significantly more calls recently compared to the same time last year.

Like 4 Seasons Heating & Air, Seymours Heating & Air is having a hard time finding new employees.

“People don’t want to work,” he said. “They just want a check.”

Seymour said the staffing problems started around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He blamed the problem on the government giving out “free money.”

Like 4 Seasons Heating & Air, Seymours Heating & Air is having difficulty getting parts. This has been going on for a year or so, Seymour estimated.

Things have been easier for Brian Philpott, owner of Philpott Heating and Air in Valley.

Still, he has seen an increase in demand in response to the recent outside temperatures. He said so far he has been able to help everyone who requested it. Philpott said he isn’t having staffing issues.

“There is an issue with parts because there’s a backlog on parts and stuff right now,” he said. “Parts and units, too.”

While he isn’t overwhelmed by demand, Philpott said larger companies might be. Compared to the same time last year, he said he’s definitely getting more business this year.

“Just be patient with your heating and air companies because right now, we’re having issues getting units and stuff like that,” he said.

Philpott predicted that demand for air conditioning units would get even higher toward the end of the year because the Department of Energy plans to increase SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings, which measure energy efficiency.