Steel Markets

Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipments Up 1.7% in September

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. heating and cooling equipment shipments rose in September to 2.09 million units, up 1.7% from August, according to recent data from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). September levels are up 2.9% from those seen one year prior. Recall that 2020 monthly shipment levels were somewhat erratic; shipments in the second quarter were significantly impacted by the coronavirus shutdowns, resulting in a surge in Q3/Q4 shipments as manufacturers ramped up production. Also recall that this past June saw a record-high shipment level of 2.32 million units.

Total 2021 shipments through September are now up to 18.7 million units, up 12.2% compared to 16.6 million units shipped in the same period of 2020. As seen in the chart below, year-to-date (YTD) shipments for all three equipment types remain at record levels in 2021, each the highest seen in SMU’s 14-year data history.

As shown in the chart below, total heating and cooling shipments on a three-month moving average (3MMA) are up 0.2% year over year. May and June 2021 hold the record high 3MMA annual rates of change at 31.9% and 27.2%, respectively, and the record high prior to 2020 was 16.6% in February 2015.

Residential and commercial storage water heater shipments increased 8.0% year over year to a combined 828,393 units in September; 806,053 units were shipped for residential use and 22,340 units for commercial use.

September shipments of warm air furnaces totaled 357,742 units, an increase of 0.4% compared to the same month last year. This is now the 15th consecutive month that warm air furnace shipments have increased year-over-year.

Central air conditioners and air-source heat pump shipments were down 0.3% from levels one year ago to 899,545 total units; 578,553 air conditioners and 320,992 heat pumps were shipped in September. This is now the fourth consecutive month that shipments have decreased year-over-year.

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 through the latest data. 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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