Heat pumps have been around for decades, but the technology has really taken off in recent years, with global sales growing by double digits in 2021 and 2022, according to the International Energy Agency (OUCH). Heat pumps were included on MIT Technology Review's 2024 list of 10 breakthrough technologies.
Sales fell nearly 17% in 2023 in the United States, one of the largest markets for this technology, according to new data from the Institute of Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration. This slowdown comes after nearly a decade of steady growth. AHRI's data is not comprehensive, but the organization includes manufacturers representing about 90 percent of units sold each year in the United States.
However, this decline probably says less about heat pumps than the overall HVAC sector, since gas furnaces and air conditioners saw even steeper declines. Gas boiler sales declined even more than heat pump sales in 2023, so heat pumps actually made up a slightly higher percentage of sales this year than in 2022.
The widespread slowdown reflects broader consumer pessimism amid higher interest rates and inflation, according to Yannick Monschaueranalyst at the IEA, by email.
“We also see a slowdown in heat pump sales in other regions of the world for 2023,” adds Monschauer. In Europe, the rush to electrification, driven by the energy crisis and rising natural gas prices, has slowed.