Carlson & Stewart Refrigeration can help...

As the world continues to exit quarantine and get back to work, many industries are still feeling the effects of Covid-19, particularly in the construction sector. Reopening of bars and restaurants have been a boon for the refrigeration service industry, but material shortages may mean slower repairs and replacements than the industry is used to. Material shortages, long lead times, and for some contractor’s, potential labor shortages, have all put increased importance on proper planning and maintenance of HVAC and refrigeration equipment. With that in mind, let’s discuss where the industry is at in July 2021, what you can do about it, and how Carlson and Stewart Refrigeration can help.

Construction Materials/Piping: Commodity shortages have led to increased prices that I’m sure most any consumer has seen by now. Steel, copper, lumber, and construction goods have seen mild to substantial price increases as low interest rates and a year lost to covid has increased consumer demand. Coupled with increased consumer demand is lost factory side productivity due to covid and shipping difficulties. For the time being it seems the industry will have to deal with moderate lead time increases on piping and increased cost.

Walk-in & Freezer Cooler Panels: The industry has seen a substantial shortage on insulated metal panels. This stems from a shortage of insulation as well as a high demand of thin gauge sheet metal. While this may lead to increased pricing, it is most noticeable in extremely long lead times. Simple walk-in coolers or freezers may have lead times upwards of 4-months with no signs of coming down just yet. Insulated duct work and insulated cooling equipment will likely also suffer from the delays. Customers should plan to get a head start on new construction to cope with lead times.

Equipment and Proprietary Components: This category changes largely from manufacturer to manufacturer. One consistency is that most manufacturers are dealing with rising prices, a shortage of skilled labor, an increased demand, scarcity of components, and shipping difficulties that combine to increase lead times and increase prices. Whether you are installing a flooded ammonia rooftop air handler with HEPA filters and UVC sanitization, a R-449a Evaporator for a beer cooler, or anything in between, most consumers are going to feel some sort of impact.

Preventative Maintenance: One way we can reduce the lead time on replacement equipment is by not needing it at all. For example: A clogged condenser is a simple problem that may lead to elevated condensing temperatures that cause a burned-out compressor. Depending on unit age that may call for a new condensing unit entirely, and the lead times and price that go with it. Preventative maintenance is designed to ensure professionals get an eye on existing equipment in the hopes of catching issues before the grow in severity. A good Preventative Maintenance plan by Carlson and Stewart Refrigeration can not only make sure your equipment is running efficiently but can increase service life on average when compared to untended equipment.

The industry will certainly change and adapt in the coming weeks and months, it’s hard to say at this time whether it will be for better or worse. As with many things in life, the best thing we can do is plan appropriately and manage expectations. By taking good care of what we have, we can reduce the need for new projects. With good communication and appropriate expectations, we can plan our replacement projects with ample time and before an emergency presents itself. With increased pricing on raw goods, it’s appropriate to also expect higher than normal pricing moving into the future, but with banks offering low interest rates it may still make it a lucrative time to consider new construction. If you think you may need to take action, CSR would be happy to help with starting or managing your Preventative Maintenance Plan or quoting your next refrigeration project.