HVAC restore staff take pleasure in serving to Nevadans beat the warmth in summer season
November 17, 2021 | by Noah Franklin
Monday, August 16, 2021 | 2 a.m
Nikki Kahalehili’s outstretched, tattooed arm grabbed the gray aluminum extension ladder as it snaked into the back yard of a two-story house in northwest Las Vegas.
It was the second service call for the Göttl air conditioning and sanitary technician on this early August morning when the temperatures rose by three digits in the morning.
In summer, the 29-year-old puts in between 60 and 80 hours in her six-day week because the consequences of living at home with a defective air conditioning system range from uncomfortable to fatal.
Inadequate air conditioning is a risk factor for heat stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that “exposure to air conditioning for just a few hours a day reduces the risk of heat-related illness” when temperatures hit the high 90s.
Despite the sultry, long, grueling hours Kahalehili can keep away from loved ones, especially this season, she described her career as fulfilling. After all, it is helping families in Las Vegas recover from the dangerous heat – the area has received several warnings of excessive heat this summer, including in mid-July when temperatures hit a record 117 degrees.
“It’s very time consuming,” said Kahalehili. “You have to warn your families over the summer that you just won’t be there all the time, you won’t always be available.”
On average, the 70 or so technicians at Göttl in southern Nevada answered 85 calls a day, compared to around 50 calls in the winter months, company spokeswoman Hannah Sunderman said.
That includes Charles Walley, a new homeowner, who called the company for a maintenance check – these preventive measures are critical to keeping the units running at full capacity, technicians said.
Technicians are qualified to service, repair, and replace air conditioning and heating systems. They also check the thermostat and its wiring. Usually the problem is “in front of your face, all you have to do is find it,” said Kahalehili.
On her first appointment that day, a routine maintenance call in south Las Vegas, Kahalehili turned the device off, unscrewed the top cover, and plugged in a diagnostic device that syncs with a tablet that displayed her readings and photos of the unit . If she hit a hook, the tablet readers would allow a manager at headquarters to guide her through issues that arise, she said.
The company is negotiating with customers who may be short of cash, which is relevant during a global pandemic when so many people are unemployed and are now trying to get back on their feet, she said.
Sometimes the conversations are difficult, she said. “I try to help customers as best I can, with the manager’s approval, of course.”
“For some of them it pours when it really rains and you have to be prepared for it,” she said. “You have to make sure that you are comfortable because you are already in a very uncomfortable position; You have to get the moment right. “
Demand for Saharan air conditioning and cooling is high year-round, said Matt Lindsey, a company representative.
Sahara employs around half a dozen technicians, whose individual calls vary between six and eight a day, who maintain air conditioning when it is hot and heating when it is cold. Her days start at 7 a.m. and can last until 10 p.m., Lindsey said.
“Some work seven days a week,” he says. “There is not very (much) downtime here in Vegas.”
Air Conditioning Contractors of America, a national trading group to which both Göttl and Sahara belong, do not store any data on service calls. On some days, says Kahalehili jokingly, it is easy to lose track of things at high volume.
On slow summer days, Kahalehili said she was lucky to be home by 5:45 p.m.
“Doing HVAC has been a blessing because I really, really love it,” said Kahalehili, who after graduating from Liberty High School had other jobs such as convention services and a coffee shop. “I feel valued by the company I work for. You allow me a lot of responsibility. “
Sometimes she encounters retired male HVAC technicians in the field who are pleasantly surprised that the field has become more diverse. She is one of three female technicians Göttl employs in Las Vegas, Sunderman said.
It is worthwhile “to be happy for them to see me and to encourage me when they don’t even know me,” said Kahalehili.