Steel Markets

Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipments Slow in September

Written by Brett Linton

US heating and cooling equipment shipments declined 3% in September, according to data from the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). Total shipments in September were 1.94 million units, down 7% from levels one year earlier.

Shipment levels have bounced around in recent months. September saw a month-over-month (MoM) increase of 12%. July plunged 20% from June, reaching an eight-month low of 1.79 million units. (That was the largest monthly decline seen since late 2020.) And June saw the fifth-highest monthly shipment rate in SMU’s more than 14-year history.

The average monthly shipments level for the first nine months of 2022 is now 2.01 million units, down from 2.07 million units in the same period of 2021. Shipments averaged 2.03 million units per month in 2021, up 10% compared to 1.85 million units per month in 2020.

Shipments remain strong on a 12-month moving average (12MMA) basis, averaging 1.98 million units per month over the past year. This is down less than 1% from the 12MMA for the month prior, and 3% less than the record-high 12MMA recorded in March.

As shown in the chart below, total heating and cooling shipments on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis are down 8% year-over-year (YoY) through September. This is now the largest decline since June 2020. Between November 2021 and April 2022, we saw a steady annual growth rate of 2–3% each month. May and June 2021 hold the record high 3MMA annual rates of change at 32% and 27%, respectively. Prior to 2020, the record high was 17% in February 2015.

Residential and commercial storage water heater shipments decreased 19% YoY to a combined 674,000 units in September: 656,000 units were shipped for residential use and 18,000 units for commercial use. Water heater shipments were up 1% MoM.

September shipments of warm air furnaces totaled 356,000 units, a decrease of 1% compared to the same month last year. Shipments for warm air furnaces declined 3% from August.

Central air conditioners and air-source heat pump shipments were up 1% versus one year ago, totaling 912,000 total units in September: 505,000 air conditioners and 407,000 heat pumps were shipped. AC and heat pump shipments were down 5% compared to one month prior.

Year-to-date (YTD) shipments through September 2022 total 18.07 million units. This is down 3%, or 596,000 units, from shipments of 18.66 million in the first nine months of 2021. But it is up from 16.63 million units in the same period of 2020 and also up from 16.19 million units in 2019.

As seen in the chart below, 2022 YTD shipments for water heaters total 6.71 million units, 10% below the same period of 2021. Warm air furnace shipments totaled 3.04 million units YTD, down 1% versus last year. YTD air conditioner shipments reached 8.31 million units in the first nine months of this year, up 3% from the same period last year – and the highest YTD figure seen in our data history.

The full press release from which this data comes from is available on the AHRI website.

An interactive history of heating and cooling equipment shipment data is available on our website. If you need assistance logging in to or navigating the website, please contact us at

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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