Businesses prepare for possible record heat in Western Oregon

WILLAMETTE VALLEY, Ore. — Air conditioning and ventilation businesses are seeing a higher than normal demand for this time of year due to extreme heat.

“We have almost everyone here on the phone right now serving customers,” said Marshall’s Heating and Air Conditioning Chief Operating Officer Lisa Bruckner. “The phones have been ringing off the hook for the last several weeks and we anticipate it’ll continue.”

Comfort Flow Heating owner Trieber Meador said he’s seen similar trends.

“We usually don’t staff our office during the weekends but this weekend we are having people available to answer phones from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday,” Meador said. 

Bruckner said this time of year when demand is high to fix or install air conditioning is known as “no-cooling” season. Typically, this season begins in mid to late June but because temperatures have been rising since April, the season started early this year.

At Marshall’s, Bruckner said that they are also taking preventative measures to ensure systems continue to run properly.

“Trying to run your system at 68 degrees when it’s 110 degrees outside, you’re not going to reach 68 degrees,” Buckner said. “If you keep trying to make it low like that you’re going to put a lot of strain on your system and it could actually cause it to fail.”

In addition to the demand, the pandemic has also created difficulties and backup in serving customers. Marshall’s and Comfort Flow Heating said it has been more difficult to find and purchase equipment due to the pandemic.

“It’s not only hard to find equipment but also the fix equipment,” Meador said.

Meanwhile, the Lane County Farmers Market is closing early this Saturday due to concerns about the upcoming heat. Communications manager Meghan Verberkmoes, said this is rare and it’s only happened once.

“There was one year where we had very strong winds one day and we did make a call to close early that day but that’s the only time I remember,” Verberkmoes said. “We started getting questions and concerns yesterday, actually. Because other markets in the state are closing early and they reached out and asked if we would be doing the same thing because it’s going to be so incredibly hot this Saturday.”

The market will close at 1 p.m. this Saturday, instead of 3 p.m. In Corvallis and downtown Albany, the farmers markets will close an hour early on June 26 at noon.

KEZI 9 News also talked to Bali Kitchen owner Suryantara Bagus, who said they plan to operate the Eugene food truck on regular hours this weekend, despite having to stay outdoors.

“We are really tight in space and we can’t really install any other appliance due to the electricity,” said Bagus. “But most of the time we just do everything regularly and make sure the air flows.”

Bagus also said he makes sure water is stocked up for his employees.