ARLINGTON, Va. - Industry numbers for the fourth quarter paint a picture of economic hardship with an interesting twist. 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 December totaled 238,160, down 28 percent compared with the same month in 2007. Year-to-date, combined shipments totaled 5,833,354, a 9 percent drop compared with the same period in 2007. Heat pump shipments for December totaled 96,497, down 16 percent from the same month in 2007. Year-to-date, heat pump shipments totaled 1,865,310, a 2 percent drop compared with the same period in 2007.

U.S. factory shipments of gas-fired, warm-air furnaces in December totaled 178,856, a 19 percent drop compared with the same month in 2007. Oil-fired, warm-air furnaces for the same month totaled 5,887, a 28 percent drop compared with December 2007 totals. Year-to-date, gas furnace shipments totaled 2.3 million, an 18 percent drop compared with the same period of 2007. Oil furnace shipments for the year-to-date totaled 59,255, a 29 percent drop compared with the same period of 2007.

Canada’s number story is much the same. According to the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), commercial air conditioning numbers were down 17 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008 and 6 percent for the year. Residential furnace shipments decreased 6 percent in the fourth quarter and 6 percent for the year. The twist is that Canada’s residential air conditioning shipments increased 3 percent in the fourth quarter and just less than 1 percent for 2008. The U.S.’ neighbors to the North also experienced a 36 percent fourth quarter increase in ductless split system shipments, posting a 12 percent 2008 increase. Chiller bookings showed gains as well, registering a 22 percent increase in the fourth quarter and 13 percent increase for the year.

For more information, visit www.ahrinet.org or www.hrai.ca.

Publication date: 02/23/2009