Combined shipments of 374,269 central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps in October were down 8% from shipments from the same month last year, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI).

Total shipments of 6,047,841 from January through October were 3% ahead of the previous year.

U.S. factory shipments of unitary ac and heat pumps during October totaled 37;4,269, down 8% from October 1999, with the year-to-date total of 6,047,841 up 3% from January-October 1999. Heat pump shipments totaled 112,455, up 18% compared to October 1999, with year-to-date total of 1,175,474 up 5% from January-October 1999.

October factory stocks were up 3,917 units from September 2000, and up 84,060 units from October 1999.

On another matter, ARI has questioned the merits of a Department of Energy proposal for new minimum efficiency standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps, saying "the vast majority of U.S. consumers would not benefit from imposition of such standards."

It filed the comments December 4 with DOE as part of its rulemaking procedure.