A Snapshot Capturing Hvacr Industry Growth

The Census Bureau’s “Current Industrial Reports” series includes the recently released “Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Warm Air Heating Equipment” report, which provides comprehensive statistics on the hvacr industry.

Although this is the 1998 report rather than 99, it still provides a good look at the relative strength of each product category.

Issued in December 1999, the report was revised and updated in April and again in May of this year. It includes a long table of various types of hvacr equipment, providing the quantity shipped and the dollar value for 98 as well as 97.

Since the original table is long, The News has condensed it to the major categories and products of interest to our readers. Also, please note that some product types were not broken out by the report; others were. The accompanying table, “Hvacr Shipments and Dollar Value,” represents our condensed version.

Equipment Breakdown

The first main category in the table is heat transfer equipment (except room and unitary air conditioners), which increased 5.3% to a shipment value of $4.47 billion over 97’s value of $4.25 billion.

Several products are listed under this category. The first is packaged terminal air conditioners (ptac’s), which had 185,745 units shipped in 98, compared to 168,084 in 97, a solid 10.5% increase. Packaged terminal heat pumps (pthp’s) almost doubled that pace, shipping 156,132 units in 98, vs. 130,736 in 97, for a 19.4% gain.

Evaporative condensers saw a very slight decline of -0.8%, slipping to 2,715 units shipped in 98 from 2,737 in 97. Central-station air-handling units, on the other hand, grew by 6.8%, rising to 381,797 units in 98 from 357,603 in 97.

Coolers (refrigeration) increased to 219,943 units shipped in 98 as opposed to 209,686 in 97, a 4.9% improvement. Air-cooled refrigerant condensers were down by 1.5%, shipping 25,292 in 98 after reaching 25,688 in 97. Centrifugal liquid chilling packages were down sharply, sliding to 8,354 units in 98 from 9,579 in 97, a 12.8% drop.

Ice-making machines, however, skyrocketed up 32.6% in 98 with 295,670 units shipped vs. 97’s 223,015 units.


In the next major category, condensing units, refrigeration, the value of shipments increased by 7% to $339.5 million, from the 97 level of $317.3 million. Actual shipment numbers were 521,653 in 98 compared to 465,344 in 97.

By far, the major product type under this category is air-cooled hermetic under 15 hp, which represents $222.9 million of the total. Shipments in 98 were 500,862 units, a 12.4% jump over 97’s 445,741.

In the room air conditioners category, room units surged 13.6%, growing to 3,223,981 units shipped from 2,838,381 in 97.

Looking at the compressors and compressor units category, shipment value barely eked up 0.7% to $2.82 billion compared with $2.8 billion in 97. The predominant product here is the hermetic-type motor compressor, which had a shipment value of $2.5 billion in 98. Quantity shipped was 23,842,842 in 98, a 2.2% increase over the 23,333,320 units that went out the door in 97. Just Warming Up The category of nonelectric warm air furnaces and humidifiers had a value of shipments for 98 of $1.61 billion, a 3.1% increase over the 97 value of $1.56 billion.

The primary product type here is gas, forced air, 150,000 Btuh and under, with a 98 value of $1.26 billion. Shipment numbers for these units were 3,025,498 in 98 vs. 2,707,851 in 97, a solid 11.7% gain.

The unitary air conditioner category rose in value to $5.23 billion in 98, a robust 13.3% increase over 97’s $4.61 billion. A major subset under that category, split-system a/c condensing units, experienced a 17.2% hike, jumping to 4,465,836 units shipped in 98 from 3,810,178 in 97.

Finally, the two heat pump categories both saw gains. Air-source heat pumps had shipments of 1,326,736 in 98, a 12.4% increase over 97’s 1,179,930. Water-source heat pumps grew by 7.2%, increasing to 120,080 units shipped in 98 from 112,052 in 97.

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