Wouldn’t it be unusual to eat a meal and then put the dirty dishes away in cupboards before washing them? Out of sight and out of mind is one way to describe that.

Thinking about eating off those dirty dishes is gross and disgusting. Even a little egg on the silverware or a hair in the food turns my stomach!

In some ways, heating and cooling systems are often treated the same way as dirty dishes in a cupboard, out of sight and out of mind. Dirty HVAC systems may not be as obvious as dirty dishes that can make you sick, but they can make you very uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, not to mention they are destined for inevitable failure.

The challenge is most people can wash dirty dishes, but few can provide the proper needed service on air conditioners because doing it right takes special tools and training.

Ignored air conditioners tend to fail at the worst time and that of course is on the hottest day of the year when technicians are incredibly busy.

If your air conditioner failed recently, it may have seemed like a struggle to get emergency service depending on who you called. This reflects the national trend of a serious shortage of HVAC technicians. There are significantly fewer HVAC technicians available each year. Additionally, there is a large number of aging tradesmen retiring.

With fewer HVAC service technicians to do the repairs, some HVAC contractors have decided not to take on new customers as a way to compensate for their inability to hire technicians.

Even a local utility company that oversold HVAC service maintenance agreements felt the pinch since they were forced to inform customers it would be a month before they could supply technicians. They instructed their customers to call HVAC contractors to make the repairs and then send them the bill.

Hopefully, the technician shortage helps explain why air conditioning service seems to be taking longer to respond each year. The costs for emergency service will naturally increase as the cost to meet labor needs is met.

Getting a good service maintenance agreement will help reduce the risks of the need for emergency service. It helps to clean the evaporator and condenser coils to keep the air conditioner running cooler as well as more efficiently. Important things like checking out capacitors and replacing weak ones eliminate that particular risk. John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s offers three very good service maintenance plans that reduce risks and save energy costs.

Accurately meeting labor needs also reduces costs for all. It’s a balancing act and incredibly important. Some companies revert to just hiring warm bodies and then struggle with those costly results.

Aggressively recruiting potential HVAC technicians in this changing work environment is an important solution. Then it’s important to weed out the weak candidates because safety and health risks need to be dealt with seriously.

I prefer hiring for attitude and training for skill methods. If applicants have a great attitude, we can “home grow them the John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s way” to become exceptional in customer service. Maybe you know some that have a great attitude and need to go through John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s boot camp?

We are finding that many have established some sort of career and so it’s a big decision to learn the HVAC trade later in life. We also are finding the obvious next generation of potential technicians is millennials that are unfortunately being led in a different direction. They are not as aware the trades offer great careers with excellent wages and benefits.

Another challenge is there are few if any female HVAC technicians! Sadly, approximately ½ of the population available does not work in the HVAC trade. As an industry, we need to do a better job of opening the door to female applicants.

If you know of someone that wants to learn the HVAC trade, John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical can help provide answers. Just call John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical and ask for Lindsey Reinke, (my daughter). We recommend Southeast Community College at Milford because they offer an excellent HVAC course and John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical provides scholarships regularly. We also offer part-time work at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical while the students are at SECC. Our plumbing apprenticeship program is very good too.

Knowing the majority of HVAC contractors are struggling with a labor shortage may help everyone plan ahead by getting service maintenance agreements to make sure their HVAC equipment is being serviced at least twice a year. We are all in this together!

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