HVAC workers in demand amid heat wave

This heat is causing hundreds of calls to HVAC companies. Although the demand for repairs and inspections is very high, companies need more employees to keep up.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Colorado residents no longer need to be reminded that it is hot and that it is hotter than expected.

But for many, this means having your air conditioning inspected or even repaired is a must.

Companies recently told 9NEWS that hundreds of calls come in every day.

Great Guys Heating, Cooling & Electric looks at least 100 a day, and ROX Heating and Air, together with Steel T Heating and Air Conditioning have seen more than 200 at least one day this week.

They all say they can now hire more workers to meet the demand.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen such an early June,” said Chris Reiser, the owner of Steel T.

While demand remains high, these companies report needing more employees to meet demand.

“…Be patient with us. We’ll do our best. Everyone else is there too…” he said.

What the shortage looks like

Even when I spoke to 9NEWS in an interview, the phones were ringing in the background of the Steel T office.

“Monday, Tuesday, there were more than 200 calls a day,” Reiser said.

He explained that hot temperatures came earlier than expected, leading, among other things, to customers not having their air conditioning inspected before starting.

“Unfortunately, this May was incredibly wet and quite cold. So we had to push a lot of that back. Normally in late May, early June, we start to see the 80, 90 degree days, people turn on their air conditioners, they have a chance to make sure to make sure they work correctly. We can address those… because maybe they’re issues from last year’s late season that are now surfacing,” he said. “But now you get the full question with 100 degrees outside for a week. And the people who haven’t done their maintenance see those problems too.”

At the moment, Reiser says they have about seven technicians, which makes it difficult to handle hundreds of calls a day.

“It’s a constant battle for us. I mean, we could double our installation and service side and tomorrow if we could find a reputable, good, you know, honest people who had the experience,” he said. “Or even someone who wants to learn, we put them in a truck, we pay for their education. We’ll get them through it and really teach them the trade. So if they own theirs in a year or two, they’ll be prepared and ready to do the job.”

Speaking of which, you can apply at Steel T, here.

As of now, Reiser explains that they are trying to prioritize different levels of urgency of customer needs.

“I mean, we’re trying to reach everyone we can. Some conditions, you know, you’re cooling down, but you can’t get below 80, but your house is cooling. I don’t have customers who don’t have refrigeration at all. So we try to take care of that because it’s dangerous when it’s 104 outside and if you do that for a week. Colorado isn’t used to this,” he said.

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America or, a nationwide member association, explains that the problem of labor shortages for HVAC isn’t exactly a new headline.

“…the HVACR industry, as well as the skilled crafts, has been dealing with a labor gap for some time and the pandemic has not made it any easier,” said Chris Czarnecki, the association’s government relations manager. “We hear from members all over the country struggling to fill vacancies. And you know, it’s their main problem right now. As far as government policy is concerned, the workforce is at the top of our list.”

In the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Handbook of Occupational Outlook, it states that the employment of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians and installers is expected to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029.

It adds that the construction of commercial and residential buildings could fuel that job growth, but “…The growing number of advanced climate control systems is also expected to increase the demand for qualified HVACR technicians…”

“The increased unemployment certainly hasn’t helped. People are being encouraged, for better or worse, to stay at home. And that, we’ve heard from members, has had a real effect on their ability to find people to fill those roles ‘ said Czarnecki.

Overall, Czarnecki is advocating for more people to enter the workforce, to help fill the employment gaps in the future.

“…not just jobs, but career opportunities with room for growth and advancement and well-paid wages,” he said. “…And these are careers that people can enter with a much lower barrier to entry than a four-year degree.”


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