This Summer’s Air Conditioner Shortages Should Have Consumers Thinking About Their Winter Heating Needs Now
There has been much talk in the media about the global semiconductor shortage, which has upended supply and caused havoc across several industries, including the consumer electronics and automotive sectors, where the impact has been most egregious. (As an aside, if you have been considering selling your used car, there has never been a better time to cash in.) But semiconductors are not the only materials in short supply. Resins, epoxies, and plastics used in the manufacturing of air conditioners, furnaces, and other home comfort and home renovation products are all in short supply, with the potential to negatively impact countless Canadians this year.
Global supply chain shortages for many products have been impacting industries since the start of the pandemic in 2020, caused by pandemic-related and economic issues in transportation, labor shortages, materials, rising demand, and shifting consumer spending patterns.
During COVID, people spent more time at home and disposable income that might have traditionally been reserved for vacations and entertainment have instead been invested in home improvements. A recent survey found that more than half of Canadians renovated their home last year for personal/non-ROI purposes. This has caused a sharp increase in demand for home improvement products. At Simply Group, we have seen this through the delay in projects from our dealer network, who are facing a steady logjam in securing the products and materials needed to complete these projects.
Coming into the summer, the increased demand in projects, coupled with the shortage of materials in the manufacturing industry, resulted in massive delays. If you are putting in a pool, waiting 16 weeks for a liner might be an enormous hassle and a huge letdown as enjoying that pool might have to wait until next summer. But waiting months for a new air conditioner amid a continental heat wave is an entirely different scenario, and one to which many Canadians can, unfortunately, attest.
There is an important lesson to be learned from the trends we have seen this past year. Traditional consumer behaviour must change when it comes to home heating and cooling, and homeowners must be more proactive in assessing their current equipment. To be certain, repairing or replacing heating and cooling units can be expensive, but it is much more financially feasible before an emergency than when you are faced with a unit that breaks down in the middle of the season, when demand is at its peak and supply at its low point. People pay more and often settle for cheaper, less efficient products.
Working from home, for those of us who have had the luxury to do so, has been life-altering. But the fatigue for many is palpable, and the impact that this is starting to have on our highly valued culture and employee satisfaction cannot be underestimated. When we do officially return to the office, we will adopt a flexible approach and safeguard that work for our team members. These will include hoteling stations instead of designated workspaces, rotating schedules, and anchor days in the office. Through their passion, dedication, and productivity, our team members have earned the right to choose how they will make the return to office work for them.
Historically, demand for HVAC equipment increases sharply as the seasons change. This demand will be exacerbated in today’s environment. In Canada, living through a summer without a working air conditioner is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. Living through a week of winter without a working furnace is simply unimaginable. Now is the time for people to bring in an expert to make sure their winter equipment is ready to handle what is to come. And if their equipment is not ready, this is the time to get ahead of the demand.