Last year's record-breaking numbers, primarily due to the 10 SEER deadline and 13 SEER mandate, created an exceptional pace for 2005 that the industry did not expect to match in 2006. After January and February of this year, the predicted cooling off of a/c factory shipments noticeably materialized. The monthly numbers have since been consistently lower than 2005, and are continuing to drop headed into the fourth quarter.

September's numbers for combined a/c and air source heat pump factory shipments totaled 512,314 units; down 38.2 percent from the same month last year. The year-to-date combined total - 5,986,482 - is down 10 percent as compared with January-September 2005.

Air-source heat pump shipments have been the rising unitary story until September, when units shipped dropped 15.7 percent from last year, totaling 170,742. In spite of slipping numbers, however, air-source heat pump shipments, totaling 1,756,255 units, are up 9 percent over January-September 2005.

- by Angela D. Harris

Publication date: 11/27/2006