‘Unprecedented’ winter storm leads to overwhelming calls for HVAC repair

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sean Greene and his wife were astonished to discover that their downstairs thermostat read 42° on Friday morning.

“It’s pretty cold,” Greene told FOX13. “You can almost see your breath. It feels like a refrigerator.”

Like thousands across the Mid-South, the Collierville family lost heat in sub-zero temperatures.

RELATED: MLGW stops rolling blackout order, asks customers to conserve energy

As of 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 23, more than 1,800 callers had slammed the customer service center at Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing.

“I ask everyone to be patient with us,” said Brian Choate. “We are running on emergency status right now.”

Choate told FOX13′s reporter Kate Bieri, that the call load is double what it is normal for this time of year.

“This storm that came through, I mean, it dropped 40°, 50° in just a few hours,” he said. “It’s been pretty crazy and it’s definitely got us working for all hands on deck.”

He said the last time a weather event created this demand for repairs was during the February ice storm.

RELATED: Thousands of customers without power as winter weather sweeps through Mid-South

Before that, it was the ice storm of ‘94.

“That’s the only time I can recall it being this bad,” Choate said.

As the snow melted outside his Collierville home, Greene was just thankful that a repairman could fix his unit within 24 hours of it breaking.

“They’re working hard,” Greene said. “I’m grateful for them.”