Updated 22 January 2016

Cape Town is running out of air conditioners

The extreme heat in the Western Cape over the last couple of weeks has seen residents clamber to get their houses fitted with air conditioners

 The Western Cape, including Cape Town, has been experiencing an extended heat spell since the start of the New Year.

Temperatures have been hovering around 30 degrees C day after day, with no rain breaking up the heat as usually happens this time of year.

The average temperature high this January has been 30 degrees C - last January it was only 27 degrees. This month has had 0 mm rain fall. Last year we had 4mm.

Higgovale resident Charlotte van Niekerk told Health24 via email that she has had to wait three weeks to get a company to install two air conditioning units into her house where the temperature rose to a dangerous 37 - 38 degrees C in the afternoon.

Other companies that quoted could only do the installation late in February or early March.

AirConditioning Cape Town, who did the installation for the user, said that the city had run out of air conditioning units and that much of the delay is down to the fact that they have to bring units down from Johannesburg.

Also, the demand has outstripped all previous years as the persistent heat and lack of cooling rain has made life unbearable in dwellings that have no central cooling.


Ryan Gambrell of Daikin Air Conditioning in South Africa told Health24 via the phone that they do have stock and it could be that a specific model was out of stock at the time the contractor was sourcing.

He says that they can get any unit within a day, even within hours, so Capetonians don't have to worry.

He also said that year on year they have doubled air conditioning unit sales.

While that is great news, getting a contractor to install it may not be as easy as they are all extremely busy.

Why is it so hot?

The extended heat can be blamed on El Niño climate pattern that pushes warm air across the Pacific towards the Southern Hemisphere.

Scientists say that, aside from the seasons themselves, El Niño is the most powerful climate force on Earth.

If you don't have an air conditioning unit in your house, now may be the time to invest in one as more and higher temperatures may lie ahead in February, historically the hottest month in Cape Town.

Read more:

How to survive a heat wave

SA on heat stroke alert (January)

The three culprits behind SA's weird weather patterns


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