Steel Markets

November Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipments Decline

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. heating and cooling equipment shipments in November declined 12.9% from October to 1.78 million units, according to recent data from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). However, November shipment levels are up 7.6% 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. This past June saw a record-high shipment level of 2.32 million units in a single month.

Total 2021 shipments through November are now up to 22.5 million units, up 10.4% compared to 20.4 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 3.0% 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 5.8% year over year to a combined 787,849 units in November; 769,142 units were shipped for residential use and 18,707 units for commercial use. This is now the third consecutive month that water heater shipments have increased on a year-over-year basis.

November shipments of warm air furnaces totaled 329,403 units, an increase of 3.2% compared to the same month last year.

Central air conditioners and air-source heat pump shipments were up 12.1% from levels one year ago to 666,067 total units in November; 383,954 air conditioners and 282,113 heat pumps were shipped. Prior to November, year-over-year shipments had decreased for the five previous months.

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 November 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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