ARLINGTON, VA — According to the Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ARI), June is the peak month for shipments of central air conditioners as contractors and distributors respond to increased demand for what can be lifesaving equipment during extreme heat.

For the first five months of 2002, ARI said factories shipped 3,035,366 central air conditioners and heat pumps, an increase of 6% over the same period last year. ARI expects shipments for the month of June to meet or exceed 900,000 units, with year-end numbers likely to eclipse last year’s total of 6,281,443, including a record 1,442,355 heat pumps.

A new record appears likely for heat pumps in 2002, with shipments up 7% during the January through May period.

The upturn in shipments comes as a report by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies projects strong growth in immigrant and minority households, resulting in 22 million more homeowners in the next 20 years. The report also says that “The housing sector is poised to set new records for production, sales, and aggregate home equity in the years ahead.” Housing starts through May nationwide are up 4.4% over last year.

ARI says that historically low interest rates have buoyed the housing market, with new home sales rising 8.1% in May. In the United States, more than 85% of single-family homes are built with central air conditioning. With an estimated 60 to 70 million units in service, the industry is poised to deliver tens of millions of replacement units over the coming decade, according to ARI.

Publication date: 07/15/2002