Due to the recent earthquake in Chile - the largest exporter of copper in the world - we will be seeing an immediate impact on anything that uses copper, including HVAC equipment. Prices are likely to go up as early as next year.

Billy Jobe, district manager for Comfort Supply Inc., a distributor of Ruud HVAC products, says his company will be warning contractors about price increases resulting from copper shortages. “Manufacturers will already have purchased all the copper they need for the year,” said Jobe. “But next year, we can expect to see some increased costs due to the earthquake’s effect on the copper mines in Chile.”

The recent earthquake halted operations in Chile’s copper mines for several days, causing worldwide metal prices to increase. On the London Metal Exchange, copper prices rose 3.7 percent in the days following the devastating earthquake.

“We have already received some notices from our suppliers letting us know that the copper shortage is going to mean higher prices,” said Jobe. Because copper is a major component of the materials used to manufacture and install HVAC units, supply and demand will necessitate the increase, he added.

Source: the Bradford Group