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How supply chain woes are impacting winter furnace repairs

Important components like circuit boards are becoming difficult to get ahold of.

SAN ANTONIO — Ongoing problems with the supply chain are starting to have an impact on heating and furnace repairs right when people are starting to worry about the coming winter weather. 

Sitting in her workshop, Valinda Huck tweaks the dials of a small electric heater.

“When I come in this room it’s pretty cold, and so I usually bring in this space heater," she said. "It keeps me warm while I’m working.”

The retired medical assistant said she's had trouble dealing with the cold ever since finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer just over a year ago.

“When chemo finishes, your body is not done with it," she said. "Your body processes it for quite a while."

She and her husband, Dirk, have been keeping the doors upstairs shut ever since their second-floor furnace broke down last month. Their service company told them the circuit board was shot and the supply chain was making finding a replacement difficult.

“December 10th,” Huck said, referring to when the furnace broke down. “So, we’ve been almost a month without a circuit board for our furnace.”

Huck says even though she’s been dealing with the cold, she feels fortunate to still have one working furnace when others may have none.

“We’re thinking, 'Well, if it’s happening to us, how many homes across the United States are being impacted with supply chain issues for their heating and air conditioning?'" she said. “Especially in the middle of winter?”

Ray Hotaling, warehouse manager for Jon Wayne Service Company, said they were warned to expect this kind of shortage earlier last year.

“What we had heard is that we were expecting to have shortages on circuit boards and electronic components, and that this was a few months back,” Hotaling said. “We started placing orders to make sure that we have stuff for wintertime when it was still summertime.”

He says they use their database of parts used throughout the year to help predict what parts they will need and keep their three warehouses stocked for the winter.

“Us here at Jon Wayne have really good relationships with our partners and our suppliers and they are able to get us ahead of the curveball on some of these shortages that we’re expecting around the nation,” Hotaling said.

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