If you’re hunting for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about a variety of HVAC systems. One component that causes a lot of confusion is the air handler. Is this another way to describe an air conditioner? We’re here to set the record straight.
What Is an Air Handler?
An air handler is the indoor portion of some types of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that circulate conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, depending on the application.
Some individuals use the words “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and numerous other components, all of which operate together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Normally, an air conditioner [shares|uses|utilizes]109] the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is necessary. However, in environments where home heating is not something that is necessary, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this situation, the indoor air handler runs along with the outside unit, called the condenser. In this setup, the AC unit’s air handler [blows|forces|pushes]110] indoor air [across|over|along the outside of]111] the evaporator coil, which absorbs heat and collects moisture, leaving the air handler to deliver cooled, dehumidified air back to the building via ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, assisting with the heat transfer to the outside. This makes it possible for the air conditioning to maintain a constant, comfy indoor temperature and humidity level.
Does a Heat Pump Use an Air Handler?
This is where air handlers are most frequently found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less effective, they are sometimes installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s known as a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less typical as of late. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps require a dedicated air handler to circulate conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing heat from the outside air and moving it inside through the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to obtain heat before circulating it inside the building. A heat pump can also be used for cooling, where it pulls heat from the indoor air and moves it outside, just like an air conditioner.
Does a Furnace Use an Air Handler?
No. Furnaces are made with a blower motor to move conditioned air. The blower is most likely located within the furnace. It forces air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that exchanges heat from a fuel source to the air blowing across it. The fuel source can be natural gas, propane or oil, which is ignited to create heat. Once warmed up, the air circulates back through the ductwork system and back into the building.
What Are the Parts of an Air Handler?
The [main|major|basic]69] [parts|components|pieces]70] of an air handler include:
- Blower: The blower is a motor-driven fan that moves air within the ductwork. It drives air across the heating or cooling elements to regulate the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, the air handler may include heating or cooling elements, including an evaporator coil or backup electric heat strip.
- Air filter: An HVAC air filter takes dust, dirt and other contamination from the air as it goes into the air handler to be heated or cooled. Air filter types and efficiency ratings vary according to the system requirements. Remember to switch out your air filter on a regular basis to protect against restricting airflow through the system.
- Dampers: Dampers are used to control airflow in buildings with zoned heating and cooling. They can be manually or automatically controlled to direct air to particular rooms as necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers have a humidifier or dehumidifier, which controls the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier infuses moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier takes out moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is tasked with regulating the air handler. It may include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to gauge the temperature and humidity inside the building.
Schedule Air Conditioner or Air Handler Repair
If you’re having issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help you out. Our staff of knowledgeable specialists can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, ensuring it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our excellent work so much that we back every single repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to set your home up air conditioning repair in North America, please reach out to a Service Experts office in your neighborhood today.