Air conditioner, heat pump shipments pass 1 million
ARLINGTON, Va. - The shipment of 1,081,147 central air conditioners and heat pumps in June - a single-month record - puts the HVAC industry on pace to exceed 7 million units for the first time, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. The ARI also reports that a third straight record year could be on the way as factory shipments for residential and light commercial units jumped 14 percent above June 2003, including 236,433 heat pumps, a new single-month record in that category and a 24 percent increase over last June. The institute said it believes the numbers are due to an improvement in jobs growth and consumer confidence. However, housing starts dropped in June and the Federal Reserve Board raised short-term interest rates, which were at their lowest level in more than 40 years. Although housing starts were down in June from what many experts considered an unsustainable rate, 30-year fixed mortgage rates remained below 6 percent though July.