Shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps set a record in 2003 with 6,807,262 units shipped, a 1% increase from last year's total -- which was also a record -- of 6,746,326 units, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). Heat pump shipments also hit a record in 2003 with 1,626,365 units shipped,a10% jump from last year'srecord of 1,483,599 units.

The records were set despite the fact that combined shipments of central air conditioners and air source heat pumps for the month of December were down overall compared to shipments from December 2002. U.S. factory shipments of unitary air-conditioners and heat pumps during December 2003 totaled 363,647, down about 3% from the 373,284 shipped in December 2002. Heat pump shipments in December 2003 totaled 109,313, up 1% from December 2002.