Businesses, residents brace for weekend heat wave |

Businesses, residents brace for weekend heat wave

Megan Tomasic
Megan Tomasic | Tribune-Review
Boxes of air-conditioning units and fans are stacked inside Lowe’s Home Improvement store off Route 30 in Hempfield ahead of a heat wave expected Friday through Sunday.

A heat wave that could bring dangerous temperatures and a heat index exceeding 100 degrees has area residents and stores stocking up on fans and air conditioners, and is keeping HVAC companies on their toes.

“It’s a nonstop kind of thing right at this moment,” said Chuck Cianciotti, owner of Cianciotti Heating and Air Conditioning in Mt. Pleasant Township. “It’s a stressful thing to keep everyone with air going.”

Cianciotti said his company has been receiving about 20 service calls per day, and his two replacement crews are fielding two to three jobs per day. Each of those take about four hours to complete.

For the first time in seven years, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the Pittsburgh region that is in place Friday and through 8 p.m. Saturday.

The heat index may be up to 104 degrees, caused by temperatures in the lower 90s and dew points in the lower 70s.

Home Depot stores received extra shipments of air conditioning units and fans beginning last week, said Kayla Milligan, assistant manager of the Hempfield store. Andy Cohen, manager of the Hempfield Lowe’s, added the store has seen a spike in sales of AC units.

Brian Burek, 45, of North Huntingdon, purchased a fan at Home Depot on Friday morning, prior to the heat wave’s arrival.

“I have central air. It’s just that I’m going to put it in my attic to try to keep the air moving to not make my central air work so hard,” Burek said, adding that the system is about 40 years old.

Jeff Syster, owner of Westmoreland Heating and Cooling in Greensburg, said he expects to field calls for AC repairs around the clock over the weekend. He said regular maintenance of units, like replacing filters, can help eliminate issues when they are working harder during hot weather.

Still, Syster said customers want their units fixed as quickly as possible in excessive heat, adding that many are willing to pay an overtime rate.

Cianciotti added that units often cannot keep up with temperatures reaching 100 degrees, saying his company sees a lot of calls from people thinking their units are broken.

“Everyone wants to be comfortable where they want to be,” he said. “(Units) are not designed to adhere for this kind of weather.”

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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