Written by Charlotte Shaff. 

Record high temperatures, more people working from home and coronavirus closures are creating especially challenging conditions for air conditioning companies. Phoenix-based Donley AC & Plumbing says some equipment is in short supply as factories struggle to keep up with demand.

What Happened?

Early on in the pandemic, many manufacturers temporarily closed factories. While the plants were closed, orders continued to come in. Although most manufacturers have resumed operations, output remains below normal.

“Once the shutdown was lifted, factories initially struggled to get up to speed with increased COVID-19 protocols, social distancing and production line safety modifications,” says Mike Donley, president of Donley AC & Plumbing. “For example, the manufacturer of Trane and American Standard air conditioners is seeing orders 70% higher than expected before the pandemic.”

It’s Not Just Main AC Units

Donley says several major local suppliers are experiencing shortages in AC equipment and parts. And one manufacturer added a surcharge on coils, a critical piece of an AC unit.

According to Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), over the last five years the United States has imported an average of $1.8 billion in AC equipment and more than $250 million in parts and goods for AC equipment. China, Mexico and Italy are crucial sources for HVAC parts and all three countries have experienced different closures and slowdowns during the global pandemic.

Record Temps And More People At Home

Combine the hottest Phoenix summer on record with more people staying at home and you get higher demand for new AC units. In the past, people could count on getting new systems installed within a day or two, but now it could take several days.

“The good news is our hot weather is almost behind us,” says Donley. “And manufacturers will have time to increase inventories before we turn on our heating systems.”

About Donley AC & Plumbing

Since 1976, Jim and Mike Donley and their employees have been providing honest, caring service to Arizonans. Family-owned Donley AC & Plumbing has twice been honored with the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics Award. Donley technicians receive ongoing training to provide the most comprehensive service for air conditioning, plumbing, heating, sewer repair, maintenance management and solar hot water.