Steel Markets

Strong Start for 2021 Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipments

Written by Brett Linton

January heating and cooling equipment shipments totaled 1.86 million units, up 2.8% from December and up 18.9% from levels one year prior, according to recent data from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). This is the eighth consecutive month that shipments have increased on a year-over-year basis. Recall that late-2020 saw record-high levels of water heater and central air conditioner/heat pump shipments.

As a three-month moving average (3MMA), total heating and cooling shipments were up 15.1% year-over-year, as shown in the chart below. This is the seventh consecutive month that 3MMA shipments have increased on a year-over-year basis. The last four months of 2020 saw the largest 3MMA annual rates of change in SMU’s limited history, reaching a record +26.3% in November. Prior to 2020, the previous record 3MMA annual rate of change was 16.6% in February 2015.

Residential and commercial storage water heater shipments increased 2.7% year over year to a combined 811,361 units in January; 792,982 units were shipped for residential use and 18,379 units for commercial use.

January shipments of warm air furnaces totaled 358,692 units, an increase of 55.9% compared to the same month last year.

Central air conditioners and air-source heat pump shipments were up 27.0% over levels one year ago to 685,926 total units; 408,831 air conditioners and 277,095 heat pumps were shipped in January.

The full press release is available on the AHRI website here.

Below is a graph showing the history of total water heater, warm air furnace and air conditioner shipments. To use its interactive features, view the graph on our website by clicking here. For assistance with either logging in or navigating the website, contact

By Brett Linton,

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