If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about various kinds of HVAC systems. One element that garners plenty of confusion is the air handler. Is this the equivalent of an air conditioner? We’re here to help sort this out.
What Is an Air Handler?
An air handler is the indoor component of some types of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that distribute conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some individuals use the terms “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not correct. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and several other components, all of which work 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 weather where home heating is not required, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler runs in tandem with the outside unit, referred to as 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 distribute cooled, dehumidified air back inside the building via ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, assisting with the heat transfer to the outside. This enables air conditioning to preserve a constant, comfy indoor temperature and humidity level.
Does a Heat Pump Use an Air Handler?
This is where air handlers are most commonly found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less dependable, they are at times installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s called a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less common in recent times. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps will need a dedicated air handler to circulate conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing heat from the outside air and shifting it inside via the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to acquire heat before circulating it inside the building. A heat pump can also be used for cooling, where it extracts heat from the indoor air and transfers it outside, just like an air conditioner.
Does a Furnace Use an Air Handler?
No. Furnaces are equipped with a blower motor to circulate conditioned air. The blower is usually located inside the furnace. It pushes air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that moves heat from a fuel source to the air blowing over it. The fuel source can be natural gas, propane or oil, which is ignited to create heat. Once heated, the air is distributed back through the ductwork system and inside 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 circulates air within the ductwork. It drives air across the heating or cooling elements to manage the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: According to the type of HVAC system you have installed in your home, the air handler may have heating or cooling elements, including an evaporator coil or backup electric heat strip.
- Air filter: An HVAC air filter eliminates dust, dirt and other airborne debris from the air as it enters 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 routinely to prevent restricting airflow through the system.
- Dampers: Dampers are used to control airflow in properties with zoned heating and cooling. They can be manually or automatically powered to direct air to specific rooms as necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers include a humidifier or dehumidifier, which regulates the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier adds moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier gets rid of moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is a way to regulate the air handler. It sometimes will include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to keep track of the temperature and humidity throughout the building.
Schedule Air Conditioner or Air Handler Repair
If you’re suffering from issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help out. Our staff of talented professionals can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, so that it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our excellent work so much that we guarantee every single repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to schedule air conditioning repair in North America, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.