Worker repairing a condensing unit on a central air conditioning system.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- According to the American Housing Survey, 91% of homes in the Midwest have air conditioning, so you can imagine how cranky people get when the A.C. goes out during this triple digit heat wave in West Michigan.
Local heating and cooling companies have been swamped with repair and installation calls.
Vredevoogd Heating and Cooling reports calls for service are up 33% from a normal summer day.
Grapids Heating and Cooling owner Nate Englesma says he can't remember a time he's ever been this busy.
Asked if he's ever felt this popular?
"I am today, and it's not because I'm a great guy," he said, laughing. "It's because I can cool people off."
Englesma is running the call center solo, which technically has two business lines. But his iPhone was also ringing off the hook Friday morning.
"I've had this same personal phone number for years, so a lot of customers have this number," he said. "I wish they didn't."
With two 100-degree-plus days in a row, air conditioners seem to be breaking down everywhere.
"The latter part of yesterday we were scheduling for today," said Englesma. "We're trickling into Monday now."
His priority now is fixing current customers' units.
"We've got air conditioners scheduled (to be installed) for everyday next week, and they're waiting," he said.
Engelsma sent us out the door to take a clean shirt to his employee, Dan Van Kempen.
"I'm dripping," said Van Kempen. receiving the shirt. "I'm going to need four or five of them."
Van Kempen was finishing up work on a burned out unit. That's the story of the week in West Michigan.
"They're working so hard, the electrical components are breaking," he said. "Many people haven't kept up on maintenance."
Across town, fellow Grapids employee Todd Forner says the last time he worked in weather like this was in the late 80s. This week he's outside for three hours at a time.
"I got my water jug in my truck and I visit that often," he said.
He's trying to finish up before the boss calls with another service run.
"We are cleaning the condensing unit right now," he told Engelsma on the phone.
Engelsma takes turns with Forner, because he knows it takes a happy -- not ornery -- staff to keep up with demand.
"Gotta make hay when the sun shines," he said.
The Grapids guys will be out working until the sun sets on Friday and Saturday, as will many other A.C. businesses in West Michigan.