Leaders and members from the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association are reviewing a merger proposal.

Supporters say the alliance would lead to a strong, unified voice for the HVACR industry, which they add is needed to deal with the regulatory issues appliance and air conditioning and furnace manufacturers are expected to face in the future.

ARI represents most of the manufacturers of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment in North America. GAMA is the trade association for makers of furnaces and related appliances and components.

Terms of the proposal include maintaining existing ARI standing committees and adding GAMA representatives. For 2008, dues would be collected separately, although by 2009, a board of directors would establish new rates and streamline collection, officials say.

Ballots were to be mailed to members of both groups in last week. Representatives will count ballots in mid-December.

If approved, the new association would be made official in February or March and based in Virginia.

For updates, visit www.ari.org or www.gamanet.org.