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Major parts shortage hits heating and cooling industry as A/C units start kicking into high gear

a/c UNIT
Posted at 8:38 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 08:38:54-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — If you have an air conditioner issue, get ready to cool your heels. The owner of a Southfield-based heating and cooling business told us that customers will need to “pack their patience” due to a major parts shortage in the industry.

And some customers have been waiting for relief for weeks.

“It gets hot in here,” said Gary Wozniak of the Detroit-based non-profit Recovery Park.

“I have two basement [air conditioning] units – one for the front of the building and one for the back of the building. And I have three large compressor air conditioning units on the roof. And none of them are working,” Wozniak said.

He called Air Doctors Heating & Cooling. A service technician came out right away.

“But when they get to the site, and they find that they need a compressor or they need a generator or they need, you know, a mother board for the computers that run the AC units, that’s where the real problem comes in,” said Wozniak.

“We have to replace this transformer right here,” said Miles Williams – the service technician for Air Doctors who is working on Wozniak’s units.

He told Alicia Smith that a basic part might take a couple of days to come in, but other parts are taking a lot longer to get here.

“Have you ever experienced a parts shortage like this?” Alicia Smith asked Air Doctors Owner and General Manager Brynn Cooksey.

“This is unprecedented. It’s nothing like we’ve ever seen,” Cooksley replied.

Air Doctors Heating & Cooling is a family-owned business based in Southfield that has been operating for more than 30 years.

Cooksey said parts are taking - in some cases - weeks to come in.

“We’ve ordered our trucks stocked end of April, and we’re just now starting to finally get some of those pieces and parts that we normally carry for our normal customers now, today, like, at this point. So, it’s pretty bad,” Cooksey said.

“What do you attribute this parts shortage to?” Alicia Smith asked.

Cooksey replied, ”Some manufacturer issues, a worker shortage. There’s a huge worker shortage. There were some COVID outbreaks at some of the manufacturers that we deal with. So, it’s not just a single manufacturer. It’s across the board.”

And he said it’s not only just parts in short supply, but also entire air conditioning units.

“So, those customers are several weeks out also,” Cooksey explained, adding that this is coming at a time when the housing industry has been booming and many builders and homeowners are looking for new a/c units to buy.

Gary Wozniak is just trying to be patient.

“My initial reaction was is there anything we can do to speed it up. Can I get online and, you know, ‘Amazon’ parts here or something,” Wozniak said. And then he chuckled,” I mean if my guys at Air Doctors can’t get parts, there’s nobody that can get parts.”

Cooksey said distributors are telling him that it will probably be September before supplies of parts and units are back to their normal levels.

So, if your air conditioning is on the fritz, call for a service appointment right away. Because if you need to order a part, it may take a while.