If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about a variety of HVAC systems. One thing that garners a lot 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 part of some models of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that deliver conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers differ in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some people use the words “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not right. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and several other elements, all of which function together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Usually, 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 outdoors 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 distribute cooled, dehumidified air back into the building using ductwork. Refrigerant lines attach the air handler to the outdoor condenser, facilitating 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 commonly found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less effective, they are sometimes installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s referred to as a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less popular these days. With no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps require a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing heat from the outside air and moving it inside using the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to acquire heat before circulating it throughout the building. A heat pump can additionally 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 made with a blower motor to move conditioned air. The blower is typically housed within the furnace. It blows air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that transfers 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 generate heat. Once warmed, the air is distributed back through the ductwork system and 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 circulates air by way of the ductwork. It moves air across the heating or cooling elements to regulate the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Based on 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 takes 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 replace your air filter on a regular basis to avoid 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 operated to direct air to particular rooms as desired to uphold a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers contain a humidifier or dehumidifier, which regulates the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier puts moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier gets rid of moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is responsible for regulating the air handler. It sometimes will include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to keep track of 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. Our staff of knowledgeable technicians 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 stand behind all repairs with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to set your home up air conditioning repair in North America, please contact a Service Experts office in your neighborhood today.