Air conditioner sales skyrocket in Calgary, heat likely to stay for rest of summer

Heating and cooling companies in Calgary are seeing a huge surge in demand as a second consecutive hot summer has people scrambling for air conditioning.

Environment Canada forecasts hotter temperatures through August

Air conditioning units are in high demand as Calgary experiences high summer temperatures. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Heating and cooling companies in Calgary are seeing a huge surge in demand as a second consecutive hot summer has people scrambling for air conditioning. 

Calgary just emerged from a heat warning that saw temperatures hit 30 C, and while that streak has broken for now, Environment Canada is warning that heat is likely going to be a feature of the rest of this summer.

"It really started off as a normal summer. But what we've seen since the end of the first week of July, it's actually been quite a bit hotter than normal," said Kyle Fougère, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. 

"We are expecting the rest of summer to be a bit warmer than normal as we move into the August month."

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That heat has more customers calling for A/C installs. But it's not just a surge from this summer — companies say they're still dealing with requests after last year's heat dome over Alberta.

"Of all my 20 years of doing this, I don't think I've ever experienced this kind of volume. We've been doing air conditioning from February," said Chris Reid, the owner of Calgary Air Heating and Cooling. 

Reid explained his team is doing five installs every day. Last year, it was only two or three. 

It's been the same for Alvaro Parra, who owns Vero Mechanical. 

"We've [already] done more this year than we did last year, which is surprising," he said.

Fougère said it's typical for people to try to prepare for another potential heat wave after seeing weather as severe as 2021's temperatures. 

"It's unlikely we're going to see something of that magnitude in the very near future. But in general, we are starting to see more heat waves. And it's important that people do plan to prepare for the heat as we move into the future years."

While Reid says finding skilled workers to pick up the extra jobs is his biggest challenge, small operators like Parra are having trouble accessing the parts. 

"Everything has been back-ordered. The suppliers have told me they ordered as many as they did last year and they sold them between January and April."

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And Reid noted those challenges aren't far away for other companies. 

"If we see another heat wave like last week.… That's when we're going to start seeing some of the equipment not available anymore." 

Average daytime temperatures around Calgary for this time of year are around 23 C, according to Environment Canada. This summer's highs are about four degrees hotter than that most days. 


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