There’s an AC shortage and Phoenix homeowners are paying for it

PHOENIX, Az. (3 on your end) – There is a shortage of air conditioners, and for customers who can find replacement units, they will likely cost more, CBS affiliate 3 By your side has learned. Before Mike Donley’s team at Donley AC and Plumbing can sell a new air conditioning unit, they need to call the manufacturer and distributor to make sure there is actually one in stock.

“I’ve been in this industry for 31 years. I’ve never seen anything like it, ”Donley told 3 On Your Side.

Donley says there is a serious shortage of air conditioners, and although small loads are trickling in, he says those units are often sold in a day or two.

“Right now, I’m concerned that air conditioners and parts will be like toilet paper and paper towels last year,” Donley said.

Last summer, at the height of the pandemic, HVAC units and appliances were in short supply as COVID-19 forced factories to shut down or slow down production. Ken Simonson, the Associated General Contractors of America’s chief economist, says manufacturers who are still trying to catch up are also struggling to buy materials and prices are skyrocketing.

“Copper futures have recently hit an all-time high,” said Simonson. “Many steel price indexes are also at record levels, which are important components for HVAC units.”

Prices for aluminum and plastic have also increased, and transport costs have also increased, according to Simonson.

“We will not see prices return to where they were before the pandemic or even what they were six months ago,” he said. “I think we are facing a continued period of high prices.”

Donley had already had to raise prices for HVAC units. He says they currently cost about 10 to 15 percent more than last year.

“The most important thing is to turn it on this weekend, let it run for today. Go out and listen to it. Is it spinning as it should, or does it make any noise? Donley said. “It’s more important than ever this summer to get your unit checked out, fine-tuned and fix small issues before they get big because you could be without air conditioning for days, weeks or months.”

Copyright 2021 KPHO / KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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