Numbers Reflect National Slowdown

ARLINGTON, Va. - Even though an air conditioning shipment slowdown is expected in the winter months, there has been a continued and steady drop in equipment and distribution numbers over the second half of 2008. According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), combined U.S. factory shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps for November totaled 231,995, down 33 percent compared with the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, combined shipments totaled 5,595,194, an 8 percent drop compared with the same period last year.

Heat pump shipments were down as well. Totaling 95,506 in November, the number dropped 21 percent from the same month a year ago. For the year-to-date, heat pump shipments totaled 1,768,813, a 0.8 percent drop compared with the same period last year.

Furnaces were not exempt from the decline in November. U.S. factory shipments of gas-fired, warm-air furnaces totaled 200,502, a 20.7 percent drop compared with the same month a year ago. Oil-fired, warm-air furnaces for the same month totaled 5,349, a 38.5 percent drop compared with November 2007 totals. For the year-to-date, gas furnace shipments totaled 2.1 million, an 18 percent drop compared with the same period last year. Oil furnace shipments for the year-to-date totaled 53,368, a 29.3 percent drop compared with the same period last year. Water heaters, room heaters, and vent-free gas hearth products declined as well.

Manufacturers weren’t the only ones feeling a pinch in November, distributor numbers - as reported by Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) - were down too. National HVACR distributor sales were 14.1 percent at median below Nov. 2007, according to HARDI’s monthly Targeted and Regional Economic News for Distribution Strategies (TRENDS) report. All eight HARDI regional reports indicated negative performance in November. Over the previous 12 months, U.S. and Canadian wholesale sales were collectively even with 2007.

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Publication date: 02/02/2009

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