AC shipments for September indicate that the year-end totals could reach 7 million.

ARLINGTON, Va. - Central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps are on track for a record year, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute.

ARI reports that September 2004's combined U.S. factory shipments of 573,401 central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps was a 14 percent increase compared to September 2003.

The institute previously reported a one-month record of the shipment of 1,081,147 central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps in June 2004, putting the industry on track to break the 7 million-units mark. September's numbers bring the 2004 year-to-date total to 6,206,168.

Heat pump shipments of 149,135 were up 15 percent compared to September 2003, while combined unitary shipments for the first nine months of 2004 were up 9 percent when compared to the same period last year.

ARI also reports that 2004 factory stocks were down 40,593 units from August 2004 and up 144,841 units from September 2003. Distributor inventories for September 2004 were down 35,831 units from August 2004 and up 62,409 units from September 2003. Distributor shipments for September 2004 were up 14 percent when compared to the same month last year.