Air conditioning services in high demand as heat wave hits Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – With the record breaking heat wave that swept through Utah, companies like Black Diamond Experts, an electrical, plumbing and HVAC services company, are also breaking records. Their CEO, Dan James, tells FOX 13 they’re full for a week and taking a record number of calls as people scramble to get their air conditioners fixed.
“It’s been a really interesting year,” said James. “I mean, getting this hot so early in the year is not very common.”
Like many in northern Utah, North Salt Lake resident Carol Jaynes has been waiting for weeks for her system to be fixed.
“Last year we had it, it was working great,” Jaynes said. “We even had a part replaced on it. It worked really well, and we went to light it this year and nothing.”
She and her fiance had to get creative to beat the heat.
“We have fans leaving, we slept with towels on our necks, on our faces,” she added. “My dogs even struggle with heat.”
James said current jobs range from simple maintenance and repairs to full air conditioning replacements.
“We see a lot of capacitors that cause the motors to start turning off, or sometimes the fan motor on top that filters the air through there,” he added.
To make matters worse, disruptions in the global supply chain are causing the price of HVAC materials to skyrocket.
“Prices have gone up dramatically and supply has been limited. HVAC is included in that,” James said. “It actually started during COVID, and now that everyone is getting out of COVID, the demand has grown so high, and the supply chain just can’t keep up with it.”
According to James, a coil of copper wire needed for air conditioning systems cost him $ 60 in June of last year. Today that same coil costs over $ 200.
The Commodities Exchange Index (COMEX) valued copper at $ 2.80 per pound in June 2020, and now the price has risen over 160% to $ 4.66 per pound. James said he doesn’t expect prices to drop anytime soon.
“Doing something today will cost less than at the end of summer or next year, and it doesn’t look like that will change over the next two years as it is happening now,” he said. he declares.
When the pandemic hit economies and supply chains hard last year, James pre-purchased a ton of HVAC supplies, anticipating the shortage. A decision that allowed Black Diamond Experts to remain competitive during this increase in demand.
“We’ve strategically bought a lot of different air conditioners, ovens and coils to make sure we’re ready when the time comes and our customer needs them,” added James.
He said tracking simple repairs throughout the year can help avoid a complete outage when temperatures are as high as they are now.
“I look at it like a car,” James said. “I mean, if you don’t change your oil and do those tune-ups, it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong. Same with HVAC equipment.”
For those still stranded without air conditioning, Salt Lake County has implemented over 50 “Cool areas“around the Salt Lake Valley to help residents escape the heat. They are found in county libraries, senior centers and recreational facilities.