Cooling companies see business boost
Technicians working overtime to respond to service calls
MADISON, Wis. — With another summer scorcher on the books, heating and cooling companies are getting a sizable business boost.
Repairs and installations may have technicians working extra hours, but they’re also bringing in extra money.
In the heat his customers are trying to escape, All Comfort Services technician Jim Van Willigen was checking an outdoor air conditioning unit Monday. It was one of the at least calls he had scheduled for Monday.
“We’re probably up at least a good 30 percent from last year, if not more,” Van Willigen said. “Some days are even worse.”
With such a high demand for repairs and new units, Van Willigen and his co-workers are getting used to working weekends with 65 or more hours a week to punch in on the time card. All Comfort now gets upwards of 40 calls a day related to customers’ air conditioning.
The high number of repairs has also caused a shortage in essential parts. Van Willigen said run capacitors are a vital part of AC units but are also the source of many problems he has been seeing out in the field. He said replacements came close to running out in the city this summer due to the very high demand.
“It’s hard to find key components for the air conditioners to make them start up. If you don’t have those to start up, you’re not going to have AC,” Van Gilligen said.
Homeowner Tim Dean said he has had to call up All Comfort about six times, all for Freon leaks in his unit. As technicians continue to try to pinpoint the source of those leaks, Dean said he has to house visitors in his hot home.
“These people have been out here quite a few times,” Dean said. “We want to get this thing solved.”15653800
Cranking up the cooling system isn’t usually what’s to blame, according to Van Gilligen. He said the high temperatures put a lot of pressure on units and their functionality. Van Gilligen suggested hosing down outdoor units about once a month to keep them clean and running smoothly. He said that can also save customers significant money on their energy bills.
Overall, All Comfort Services said business is up about 30 percent with unit sales up between 30 percent and 40 percent this summer. A basic repair visit will run someone a couple hundred dollars, but All Comfort Services said some of that profit goes right back to paying the technicians for overtime hours.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to take off in August and have a small vacation, right?” Van Gilligen joked.
The head of Warren Cooling and Heating out of Madison said he has seen double the number of calls that his company saw last summer. Many of the customers Warren technicians respond to have lived without AC for a while and can’t take this summer’s heat. The owner said the air conditioning units are working non-stop and just keep up with the high temperatures.