2 Ways To Prevent Equipment Shortages From Making You Uncomfortable
The Covid-19 pandemic changed our lives in more ways than we can count. Even though in many ways life is moving forward, there are still some lagging effects that the pandemic is causing. One of the unfortunate effects is nationwide shortages of raw materials and product components.
Heat pumps, furnaces, and air conditioners can officially take their place on the list of shortages that Americans have had to grapple with in the past year. However, unlike toilet paper, sanitizer, or masks, the supply chain for HVAC equipment is still wrought with obstacles. This is leading many in the industry to predict that these shortages are likely to continue until at least the end of the year.
What is causing the disruption in the HVAC supply chain?
The shortage in raw materials needed to make the equipment is one large factor. These materials come from different countries around the world, and with the global pandemic changing the way whole countries operate in the past year, HVAC manufacturers are short on the materials they need such as metals and plastics. In some cases, there are shortages of key components of the equipment. For example, since high-efficiency equipment uses microchips, their shortage has significantly slowed the production of higher efficiency equipment. Add to the shortages, transportation issues, factory shutdowns due to Covid outbreaks, extreme weather, and higher overall demand for new HVAC equipment. These problems "have compounded to become the perfect storm for the industry", reports Fox Business.
What have been the effects of these shortages?
Nationwide delays for equipment installation. Tampa Bay Times reported: "depending upon what people are looking for, wait times now can range from three weeks to six months." Manufacturers have had many high-demand parts and equipment on backorder for longer, with no known ETA. The article also mentions that "the shortage has caused manufacturers to raise their prices three times already this year." With the record high temperatures of this year and lack of materials, some are living out of hotel rooms while waiting for parts to arrive and their units to be repaired. Manufacturers have had many high-demand parts and equipment on backorder for months, with no known ETA.
What can you do?
Keep in mind the life cycle of the equipment. After a house and a car, an HVAC system is the third-largest investment for most homeowners. Here are a few things to stay updated on: How old is your equipment? What is its life expectancy? What problems has it had in the past? Has it been regularly maintained over the years? By staying informed, you will be sure to get the most out of your investment.
Google says AC and heat pump systems last 10 years. We have seen most well maintained AC and heat pump systems last between 12-15 years, sometimes more. A poorly maintained system may start manifesting major problems far earlier than that. If your HVAC system is getting closer to the end of its expected life cycle, start planning your budget and considering replacement options. If you’ve had problems that require significant repairs to an older system, it’s best to also schedule a date for replacement with your HVAC contractor that will have the least impact. The moderate weather of September/October and March/April are usually preferable times since there is less heating or cooling required than in other months.
Don’t skip seasonal maintenance. At times, preventive maintenance may seem inconsequential. However, there may not be noticeable signs that your HVAC system has problems brewing. Oftentimes, it is the simplest things that cause the greatest problems in an HVAC system. Did you forget to change your filter? Are your evaporator and/or condenser coils dirty? Those 3 simple items mentioned have the potential to restrict the needed air your system needs to cycle in and out of your home. That type of restriction reduces efficiency causing the mechanical parts to run more than they should. Over time, the components will break down due to overuse.
After a thorough inspection of your unit, an HVAC professional can flag potential problem areas in your system. These things can be taken care of before the situation escalates and thus save you and your family time, money, and stress of higher utility bills, unexpected repairs, and being without air conditioning or heating.
JD Air is here to help. We provide free equipment replacement estimates. We will be happy to set you up with a time for a technician to visit your residence and talk about your HVAC needs and go over your options so you can stay informed, stay in control, and stay comfy.