Where is 13 SEER equipment most popular? Which areas are more apt to utilize ductless technology? As a distributor, which equipment should be targeted for which region? Read to find out.

Where is 13 SEER equipment most popular? Which areas are more apt to utilize ductless technology? As a distributor, which equipment should be targeted for which region?

A recent distribution study of unitary equipment, conducted by D&R International, Silver Springs, Md., examines sales trends by geographic region, revealing which components are most popular, sales by SEER value, refrigerant types, whether units are ducted or not, and more.


D&R representatives began their work this spring, collecting data from 20 hand-picked HARDI distributors to form their first Unitary Sales Report, representing statistics from April to August 2012.

Researchers acknowledge that, due to the small sample size, the report lacks comprehensive data and is not intended to serve as an industry barometer. The report is intended to demonstrate a subset of results that may offer greater impact through increased industry participation.

The 20-distributor research revealed that, of all unitary products, 32 percent of products sold were air conditioning condensers, 25 percent were air handlers, 17 percent were heat-pump condensers, and 6 percent of transactions were furnaces.

Approximately 66 percent of all distributed unitary equipment was 13 SEER. About 15 percent was reported as 15 SEER, 6 percent, 14 SEER; and 5 percent, 16 SEER. The remaining 8 percent of sales varied upon its SEER ratings. High-efficient 23 SEER equipment accumulated only 3 percent of sales.

Ductless equipment registered much higher average SEER ratings-per-sale than its ducted counterparts. Approximately 30 percent of ductless purchases offered a 23 SEER rating. About 12 percent of ductless sales boasted 18 SEER; 11 percent, 16 SEER; and the remaining 47 percent of sales varied in value between 13 SEER and 26 SEER.

Unitary air conditioners followed suit as 13 SEER sales accounted for 69 percent of units sold. Approximately 15 percent sold were 15 SEER, and another 8 percent offered a 14 SEER rating.

Ductless air conditioner data was much more sporadic. A total of 18 percent of respondents reported sales of 23 SEER units, 17 percent, 16 SEER systems; 16 percent, 14 SEER equipment; 14 percent, 13 SEER units; and 13 percent, 19 SEER.

Almost 80 percent of respondents reported R-410A as their most-used refrigerant choice, with data varying by region. R-410A sales dipped to 58.6 percent in the Southwest, and 57.8 percent in the Western region, while R-410A stands alone as the most popular choice in the Southeastern region, comprising 91 percent of sales, and the Central region as well, accounting 86 percent of sales.


"We have worked with a number of utility companies in the past," said Toby Swope, manager of data quality and analytics, D&R International. "They wanted to know where they should spend their money, so they enlisted us to take a look at the market.

"While doing our research, we encountered a number of questions regarding HVACR products, their capacities, SEER levels, the difference between ductless and ducted systems, and more. We found that this information is not widely available for the HVACR industry, so, it only made sense that we propose a study."

Swope and Dan Vida, analyst, D&R International, met with Talbot Gee, executive vice president and COO, Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) about performing a unitary sales study on behalf of HVACR distribution. Gee, HARDI's HVAC Systems & Equipment Council, and HARDI's Management Methods Committee, have all sought definitive data for some time and agreed to move forward with the project.

"This is an exciting project to test a next-generation unitary sales report that couldn't be easier for distributors to participate in while providing potentially priceless information about what kinds of equipment are actually selling and where," said Gee.