The $20.7 billion US HVAC equipment industry differs between regions due to variances in climate, heating and cooling requirements, and type of buildings constructed. Competition from imported products has grown considerably as suppliers have relocated production to Mexico. Average HVAC equipment prices rose between 2.0% and 3.0% per year between 2008 and 2018. Price increases in 2018 were partly the result of import tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed by the Trump administration.
This study analyzes the United States market for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment
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Scope and Summary
Products covered include:
air conditioning equipment, including unitary air conditioners, room air conditioners, packaged terminal air conditioners, chillers, and absorption chillers
heating equipment, including warm air furnaces, boilers, and room and zone heating equipment
whole building dehumidifiers and humidifiers
Products excluded from the scope of this report include:
portable HVAC equipment, including air conditioners, heaters, dehumidifiers, and humidifiers
ventilation equipment, including ductwork, radiators, and distribution pipes
parts and attachments
Demand for HVAC equipment is examined by product type, energy source, market, and region in US dollars at the manufacturers’ level. Unit demand estimates are also provided by product and market. Shipments are provided by product type in US dollars. Historical data for 2008, 2013, and 2018 and forecasts to 2023 are presented in current dollars (which are not adjusted to account for inflation).
Product Definitions: Air Source Heat Pump
Function by transferring heat from one location to another. To warm the air in a buildings, the heat pumps pull heat from the outside air and transfer it into the home ductwork or individual air handlers. To cool the home, the process is reversed; the heat pump pulls heat from inside the structure and transfers it out of the home.
Either generate hot water to provide space heating or are used as a piece of industrial process equipment. However, some models provide both space heating and hot water generation. District heating boilers, including large-scale boilers and series of large-scale central boilers that generate hot water to provide heat for an industrial complex or a densely populated urban area, are included in this study. However, products associated with combined heat and power generation systems are not covered in this study, even though they are also radiant heat systems.
Central Air Conditioning
Air conditioning system that provides comfort cooling to an entire structure. Unitary air conditioners can also be described as central air conditioners.
Boilers that have the ability to condense water vapor in the exhaust gas to recover additional heat that improves the efficiency of the unit compared to non-condensing boilers.
As a type of heat transfer equipment, heat pumps function similarly to air conditioners but can also provide heat. They are also referred to as “reverse cycle heating”, “reverse cycle air conditioning”, “inverted air conditioners”, or “dual capacity air conditioners”. Heat pumps consist of the following major components: a compressor, a fan, condensing coils, evaporator coils, a metering valve, and a reversing valve. The system operates by using a compressor to pump the refrigerant to the coils..
Mini-Split Room Air Conditioner
Room air conditioners that have the condenser and compressor separate from the air handling components. Sometimes referred to as ductless mini-splits.
Packaged Unitary Air Conditioners
Consist of a central air conditioner that combines both condenser and air handling capabilities into a single unit.
Room Air Conditioner
Room air conditioners function similarly to unitary air conditioners and the cooling cycle of heat pumps, but they are designed to operate on a smaller scale. The condenser, compressor, and air handling components in a room air conditioner are located in the same cabinet, which is typically mounted in a window but can be installed in an opening in the wall. Portable units that operate as a free-standing unit with a duct that expels warm air through an exhaust vent in the wall, fireplace, window, or other venting location are also available.
Split Unitary Air Conditioners
The compressor and condenser are installed outside of the building, and an air handling unit is installed inside the building. Split systems are widely used in residential applications. Multi-split systems incorporate one central unit outside and a series of air handling units in several areas of a building. Multi-split systems are increasingly common in newer urban construction throughout the world.
Unitary Air Conditioner
Unitary is a term used to refer to the fact that all the components needed to cool, dehumidify, and move the air are included in one or more factory-made assemblies. These systems provide central cooling for an entire building. Although many of these systems incorporate a heating component within the same assembly, they differ from heat pumps in that the system does not reverse direction.
Warm Air Furnace
Warm air furnaces heat buildings by drawing air from rooms through ductwork and a filter into the furnace, where the air is heated using natural gas, electricity, or heating oil. The warm air then moves back into the rooms through the ductwork. Older warm air furnaces are known as gravity furnaces because the air is delivered by natural convection movement as warm air rises and cold air falls, but the majority of newer versions are known as forced air furnaces because the air is returned using a fan.
US demand for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is forecast to reach $25.1 billion in 2023 on increases of 3.9% per year, a deceleration from the rate of the 2013-2018 period due to two main factors:
moderating replacement sales, as pent-up demand following the Great Recession has been alleviated
slowing building construction, which will reduce the number of HVAC systems installed in new buildings
The majority of expected demand increases will continue to stem from the replacement of existing equipment that has reached the end of its operational lifespan with better performing, and typically higher value, equipment.
Key Findings in the
HVAC Equipment Study:
Sales of Heat Pumps Tied To Availability of Tax Credits
Heat pump sales have surged since 2013 due to their greater energy efficiency, growing consumer awareness, their ability to control the temperature by room, and the existence of federal tax credits. However, the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit expired at the end of 2017, dampening sales in the short term. The credit was reinstated for geothermal heat pumps in 2018, which will boost sales until its expiration in 2021, after which there is expected to be a drop in geothermal heat pump sales.
The South Will Remain the Largest Regional Market with Best Opportunities
The South accounts for the largest share of US HVAC equipment demand in any given year and had 45% of US sales in 2018. The South has the largest building stock of any region and a warm climate, resulting in the widespread use of nearly all types of HVAC equipment – particularly air conditioning equipment and heat pumps – resulting in a substantial replacement market. Through 2023, the South is forecast to see the fastest sales growth and will account for 47% of all gains due to its large, growing population and building stock.
Lack of Refrigerant Regulations Creating Uncertainty for Industry Participants
Manufacturers of air conditioning equipment and heat pumps are continuing to develop new refrigerants that meet or exceed enforced guidelines for environmental impact. However, the US – which withdrew from the Paris Agreement in 2017 and has not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment – is lagging many other developed nations in the introduction of equipment that utilizes alternative refrigerants. This has prompted certain states in the US – namely California, Maryland, and New York – to propose or enact state regulations concerning refrigerant use.
Such activity at the state level makes it difficult for industry participants to efficiently meet customers’ needs. As a result, many participants are lobbying for a national regulation, as well as the adoption of requirements from the Paris Agreement and Kigali Amendment to stay ahead of a potential change in regulations in the US. If adopted, these regulations will boost the average value of HVAC equipment across the country.
This Freedonia industry study analyzes the $20.7 billion US HVAC equipment market. It presents historical demand data (2008, 2013, and 2018) and forecasts for 2023 by product (air conditioning equipment, heating equipment, heat pumps, dehumidifiers & humidifiers), market (commercial buildings, residential buildings), and US region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West). The study also evaluates company market and analyzes industry competitors including Daikin Industries, Ingersoll-Rand, Johnson Controls, Lennox, LG Electronics, Nortek, Rheem, SPX, and United Technologies.