U.S. factory shipments of residential cooling and heating equipment for January 2008 look very similar to the totals for the same month a year ago.

A small increase was reported for central air conditioners, air-source heat pumps and gas warm air furnaces, the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute said.

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association merged to become AHRI in January. Each month, in a combined news release, AHRI will release shipment data for central air conditioners, air-source heat pumps, warm-air furnaces, water heaters, vent-free room heaters and vent-free gas hearth products.

Combined U.S. factory shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps for January totaled 323,072, a 1 percent drop compared with January 2007 shipments. Heat pump shipments for January totaled 125,489, a 7 percent increase from the same month a year ago.

U.S. factory shipments of gas warm-air furnaces rose 1.2 percent to 171,120, compared with January 2007 totals. Oil-using warm air furnaces for the same month fell 17.5 percent to 5,807, compared with January 2007 shipments of this equipment.

Residential electric water heater shipments for January totaled 338,758, slightly outpacing residential gas water heater shipments, which totaled 319,747, but shipments for both types of water heaters this year fell about 9 percent compared with shipments for the same month last year.

Commercial gas water heater shipments for January totaled 7,198, a 0.9 percent drop compared with the same month last year. January commercial electric water heater shipments totaled 5,183, a 5 percent drop from the same month a year ago.

A total of 6,263 vent-free room heaters were shipped in January 2008, a 3.4 percent drop compared with the same month last year.

January gas logs and insert product shipments totaled 10,617, a 30 percent drop compared with the same month last year, while gas stove shipments for the same month jumped 12.4 percent compared to January 2007. Gas fireplace shipments for January 2008 totaled 3,112, a 1.7 percent drop compared to the same month last year.