Heat Wave Takes Toll On A/C & Landscapes

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(KTVI) - While lawns turn yellow then brown, lots of green is piling up in cash registers at St. Louis area businesses.  Steve Miles is the general manager at Jerry Kelly Heating and Air Conditioning.  He explains, “We make hay while the sun shines, literally.”

Miles says there almost are not enough hours in the day to handle all of the customers’ calls for service, “Our normal hours are until 8 p.m. at night.  We’ll schedule to 8 which means a guy may work 7:30 to 9 at night. For the last couple weeks they’ve been going home at about midnight, one o’clock in the morning.”

Typically repair crews answer 225 calls a week. Last week they went to 360 homes.  Employees are working sixth and seventh days in the tremendous heat. 

Keith Grojean is a repairman, “The heat is pretty brutal.”  In some cases he said homeowners treat repair people like rock stars, “They’re very happy to see you. It’s like Christmas in July in a way. They’re jumping up and down and ready to see you.” 

Vicki Vetter’s air conditioner broke. She said she had a back-up plan in case of such emergencies, “We have family in the area so we would just go stay with them.”

At Rick’s Ace Hardware in Des Peres, the battle to keep lawns, flowers and trees alive is taking place on the sprinkler aisle.  It’s a back and forth struggle to make sure workers have enough hoses and watering supplies in stock.  Shipments arrive on Monday and by Friday most of it’s gone.

Store Manager John Youngblood said, “I would say 50, 60 percent of the people that come in and shop - maybe even 70 percent - they buy something related to their hose or sprinkler, a repair kit or nozzle or something.”

Youngblood says sales of lawn water products have tripled during the heat wave.