By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – Amid record high temperatures, some people in Denver are dealing with broken air conditioning, and a nationwide shortage is leading to big delays in fixing those units. The global supply chain issue, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a shortage of parts and microchips for all sorts of tech, appliances, and cars, but with the heat wave, people are feeling the affect more than ever.

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“It’s not fair, very unfair,” said Bria Workman, of Denver, who’s been dealing with a broken AC for three weeks. “We just want the situation to be handled. We don’t want to be in the heat.”

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She spent $400 of her own money on an air cooler, and has been calling the front office of her complex – Deerfield at Indian Creek Apartments – every day, trying to get an answer.

Wednesday, apartment maintenance finally brought her a window unit as a temporary fix, saying they’ll fix the HVAC system as soon as they get the part.

“It’s hard because I work from home. I’m trying to stay cool. I have a little puppy, she’s hot,” Workman said. “I’m having to stay (the night) with my family members, for the time being, until everything is fixed. I’m hoping that they fix it.”

CBS4 emailed and called Deerfield at Indian Creek Apartments for a comment, but has not heard back.

Workman’s situation is one of many across the country.

“It’s affected our industry in a very dramatic way,” said Terry Koenig, Vice President and Owner of Haynes Mechanical Systems.

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He says a national material shortage is causing up to five-month-long delays in shipping AC components.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s really been a struggle as far as equipment delivery, equipment replacement, upgrades, also the components for repairs. It’s been a huge hit and miss as far as what’s available,” Koenig said. “The usual ship times would be anywhere from four to eight weeks. We’ve seen ship times now go from 12 to 16 to 20 (weeks).”

Koenig says he has weekly conversations with others in the industry about when the shortage might improve. Some experts estimate it could take up to eight months before things are back to normal.

“I’ve been in this business a long time. We’ve never seen something like this,” Koenig said.

In the meantime, Koenig says his company is fortunate that they started to see the writing on the wall several months ago and purchased some inventory in advance.

“That helped us, and we’ve been able to really overcome, by rental equipment, repairs, we have a great relationship across the country with manufacturers, and our affiliations. They’ve been very supportive of what we need, and we help them out as well,” Koenig said.

Koenig has some advice for anyone who might need an appliance any time soon: order sooner than later.

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“I would say that sooner is better, right now, if you’re anticipating doing some sort of repair, upgrade,” Koenig said. “Get that into the queue.”

Kati Weis