Steel Markets

Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipments Near Record Levels in March

Written by Brett Linton

March heating and cooling equipment shipments jumped 33.1% over February, now at 2.24 million units, according to recent data from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

This is the third highest level in SMU’s history, just behind the June 2020 high of 2.28 million units and the June 2018 high of 2.27 million units. March levels are up 15.6% from one year prior, and this is the 10th consecutive month that shipments have increased on a year-over-year basis.

As a three-month moving average (3MMA), total heating and cooling shipments rose 15.0% year over year, as shown in the chart below. This is now the ninth consecutive month that 3MMA shipments have increased on a year-over-year basis. Note that 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 March 2015.

Residential and commercial storage water heater shipments increased 11.9% year over year to a combined 939,884 units in March; 915,993 units were shipped for residential use and 23,891 units for commercial use.

March shipments of warm air furnaces totaled 376,207 units, an increase of 52.2% compared to the same month last year.

Central air conditioners and air-source heat pump shipments were up 8.6% over levels one year ago to 925,031 total units; 576,646 air conditioners and 348,385 heat pumps were shipped in March.

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,

Brett Linton

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