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'It's really tough right now': Air conditioning parts shortage leads to repair headaches

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — We can all get a little cranky when the air conditioning stops working, so be warned that repair work may take longer this summer because of a persistent parts shortage.

Whipple Service Champions told KSL-TV that shortages and shipping issues started during the pandemic and that manufacturers haven't caught up.

"Also, we have shortages on different types of metal and wire and things like that," said Dennis Ewing, Whipple's chief value officer. "So, like right now OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts, I've seen them out from two days to two months on different systems. So it's really tough right now."

With triple-digit temperatures across Utah, Ewing said air conditioning units are working extra hard right now. That always results in more service calls.

"The big heat comes, and everything breaks, and it seems like it's all at once," he said. "The phone starts ringing and it doesn't stop."

Those repairs can be delayed because of the parts shortage, especially if an air conditioning system requires a proprietary part.

"There's no rhyme or reason to which parts are available and which parts aren't," he said, adding that even some ductwork is hard to come by right now.

Ewing said they've stocked up parts and new systems and can normally piece together a repair and help customers.

"We try and be ahead of the curve," he said.

To keep your system running with cool air, Ewing said the best advice is to ensure your air filters are clean.

"If they're dirty and that air can't flow through there, they're going to freeze up," he said.

If an air conditioning system has frozen up, it will be blowing warm air, Ewing explained. In that case, he said to turn the system off and call for a technician.

Finally, he said to be realistic about how cool your house can get during a heat wave. When it's more than 100 degrees outside, don't expect mid-60s temperatures indoors.

"Please don't overwork it," Ewing said. "You're going to overwork it, and it's going to break."

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