COVID-19's Impact on HVAC Parts Shortage in 2021
As time goes on, we are all learning just how many aspects of life have been affected by the parts shortages and supply chain issues wrought by COVID-19. Now this parts and equipment shortage has hit the HVAC industry with a vengeance – and unfortunately, it comes during one of the hottest summers on record. In this article, Modernize will cover the HVAC equipment shortage in 2021 and how it may impact your HVAC project.
Why is There a Shortage of HVAC Parts?
A perfect storm of unfortunate events has led to the HVAC equipment and parts shortage. Plans to protect workers from COVID-19 resulted in factories shutting down or scaling back production. Some workers wound up sick with coronavirus, isolated after exposure or taking care of family members who were affected. This resulted in fewer individuals available to work the manufacturing lines.
There was also a worker shortage in transportation, limiting the number of trucks on the road and trains hauling HVAC replacement parts. Even the blockage of the Suez Canal in March of 2021 put a dent in the ability to obtain HVAC parts.
The housing boom that surprised everyone in the midst of the pandemic plays a role. New construction of homes and businesses requires HVAC installation. Many homeowners selling their homes needed to upgrade or repair their older HVAC systems. The result was unprecedented levels of demand for parts of all kinds.
This came right at the moment when semiconductors, the tiny electronic chips that keep everything from appliances to cars running, saw a global shortage. Slower production of semiconductors slows down production everywhere else.
There were local issues as well. For instance, those in Texas were hampered by severe weather and those in the Northwest were affected by fires. Across the United States, the demand for air conditioning went up dramatically as even places that never needed air conditioning before baked under oppressive heat waves.
What the HVAC Equipment Shortage Means for Homeowners
It boils down to one word: Patience.
Supply chains are moving, but getting them up to speed again takes time. When planning out installation of a new HVAC system, or even picking up a window unit at your local home improvement store, expect to wait several weeks for the sweet relief of cool air. If your HVAC system is acting up, get in touch with a contractor right away. They can come out and take a look relatively soon, but if the fix requires a parts order, it might take several weeks before you can get any of the real work done.
In the meantime, it is more important than ever to maintain your HVAC system. There are a few things you can do to help ensure the cool air keeps flowing:
- Change your air filter on a monthly basis. Remember that you will be using the air conditioning more often during heat waves, so check the filter – it might need to be changed more often than usual.
- Keep the unit clean. Clean around the coils of the system, make sure the parts are free of dust or debris, and generally keep an eye on both the exterior and interior components of the system.
- Get a full maintenance on your HVAC system. This tune-up can help catch small problems before they become catastrophic failures.
- Consider a maintenance contract. These agreements with your local HVAC contractor can save you money on those tune-ups as well as give you priority service. That means you might be first in line when the coveted replacement parts do come in. We also recommend looking into your HVAC warranty to see if any parts are covered.
Replacing an HVAC System in 2021
Finally, if your HVAC system is reaching the end of its expected lifespan, consider replacing it as soon as possible. Though it might seem as though it pays to wring every last bit of service from the system, there are two good reasons why replacement might actually save money.
The most obvious is savings over time: newer models of HVAC systems are much more energy-efficient than those installed several years ago. There is also the reality that extreme weather events, including heat waves, are becoming more common and severe. Prepare yourself with a system that can handle the demand for cool air during even the most sweltering days.
If you need help finding a good contractor who can help with your HVAC needs, turn to Modernize. Not only can we connect you with a contractor in your area, we can provide you with the tools to vet your short list of choices and find the one that’s right for you.
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