Steel Markets

Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipments Remain Strong in May

Written by Brett Linton

May heating and cooling equipment shipments rose 1.3% from April, now at 2.18 million units, according to recent data from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

This is now the fourth-highest level in SMU’s history, with the shipment record occuring in June 2020 at 2.28 million units, followed by June 2018 then March 2021. May levels are up 30.9% from one year prior (due to the COVID-19 decline in May 2020), and this is the 12th 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 31.9% year over year, the highest rate seen in SMU’s 12-year history. November 2020 held the previous record high 3MMA annual rate of change at 26.3%, and the record high prior to that was 16.6% in May 2015. As shown in the chart below, May marks the 11th consecutive month that 3MMA shipments have increased on a year-over-year basis. 

Residential and commercial storage water heater shipments increased 21.9% year over year to a combined 815,587 units in May; 796,845 units were shipped for residential use and 18,742 units for commercial use.

May shipments of warm air furnaces totaled 338,555 units, an increase of 56.5% compared to the same month last year.

Central air conditioners and air-source heat pump shipments were up 31.5% over levels one year ago to 1,022,513 total units; 642,306 air conditioners and 380,207 heat pumps were shipped in May.

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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