Prices Rise as Supply Shortages Impact HVAC Equipment
Winter is rapidly approaching, and the supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue relentlessly. Not only have the parts and air conditioning shortages hit the HVAC industry with extreme force, but now furnaces have joined the mix too. Based on the 2021’s Farmer’s Almanac, it is forecasted to be one of the coldest winters in years within St Louis and St Charles regions.
On top of that, prices continue to increase drastically. Local manufacturers have experienced a price increase on parts and HVAC equipment up to 50% since the beginning of the pandemic.
What is Causing the HVAC Supply Shortages in 2021?
The overall reason why the 2021 HVAC supply shortages exist all leads back to COVID-19 and the pandemic. COVID-19 resulted in many factories closing down or scaling back production for weeks, or months at a time.
Additionally, due to the stimulus checks and the significant increase in people working at home, demand skyrocketed. With this increase in demand, while experiencing the decline in the workforce, production of these HVAC parts and equipment was unable to meet the consumer’s needs within a timely manner. This is the primary reason the nation experienced the air conditioning shortage this past summer.
Higher Transportation Costs impacting the Supply Chain
Currently, there also happens to be a worker shortage in transportation. This severely limits the number of trucks and trains that are actively transporting HVAC equipment and parts while, in return, increasing the costs.
The HVAC industry is also still feeling the effect of the blockage of the Suez Canal from March 2021, which undoubtedly put a major setback in the overall supply chain.
Electrical Components and Microchips
Not only have there been reported electrical component and microchip shortages but an overall raw material shortage as well. These shortages have been impacting materials like steel, aluminum, copper, and plastics. Prices have increased on nearly each and every one of them as well. Even today, copper and steel remain at an all-time high on their price index levels.
All of these materials are often found in HVAC parts. Parts like an air conditioner’s compressor and evaporator coil or a furnace’s blower motor and control board are now often found in limited quantity and supply.
The high-efficiency systems are known to be equipped with microchips, which are the same chips wreaking havoc in the car industry.
How Long Will These Shortages Last?
The equipment shortages are projected to continue through the remainder of 2021. Manufacturers will not give us an estimated time of when things will be back to normal. The demand for products and services in St Louis, St Charles, and hundreds of other areas throughout the US have since surpassed the manufacturer’s ability to build, produce, and ship out inventory within a reasonable timeframe.
Luckily for Superior Heating and Cooling clients, we have purchased all the equipment we could buy from our manufacturers in order to better serve our local customers. This helped us tremendously in the summer, as we were able to support our clients with air conditioning when their previous HVAC contractor could not as they had parts back-ordered from days to weeks.
How these Shortages Will Impact the Everyday Consumer
These shortages have the potential to leave your home without cold or warm air for days, or even weeks, depending on what kind of part you need. Supply chains may be moving, but they still need time to catch up to their pre-pandemic pace.
As of now, it is detrimental for you, as a consumer, to act accordingly for not only your own comfort but the safety and well-being of your home. Pipes can freeze and burst in extreme cold with no heat. While heatstroke is a common occurrence to inhabitants with no AC.
Even if you are not in urgent need of any HVAC repair or replacement, there are still a few things you can do in order to ensure your furnace or air conditioning system is operating smoothly.
Perform A Clean and CheckYour system builds up a lot of grime, dirt, and debris as it sits outdoors or in your basement. It is good to have the internal parts cleaned by a professional to ensure that your system is performing at optimal efficiency. Our clean and checks typically start out at $$$.
Perform Furnace and AC Maintenance AnnuallyAnnual HVAC maintenance is a must-have for homeowners. Not only does it give you the opportunity to catch potential problems early, but it also extends the life of your system.
Changing Your Air FilterOne of the leading causes for HVAC repair is a homeowner forgetting to change their filter after several months, eventually causing the furnace to stop working. Play it safe, change your filter every one to two months, especially if you have pets or are indoors often.
Consider a Maintenance PlanSign up with our Superior Maintenance Plan and we will give you priority service for your heating and cooling maintenance, a year-long warranty on parts, a 10% discount on parts and repairs, and more.
Replacing an HVAC System in 2021
If your furnace or air conditioner is over 12 years of age, it may be better to consider replacing it now rather than later. The average lifespan of an HVAC system is around the 12-year mark. Even if your system is still operating, it may just be a matter of time before it shuts down entirely when extreme weather hits.
Newer systems also save quite a lot of energy, which in return, saves you money on your energy bill. With no end in sight to the HVAC equipment shortages, it may be in your best interest to at least consider replacing your furnace and/or AC system.