If you’re hunting for heating and cooling services, you may find confusing, sometimes contradictory information about various kinds of HVAC systems. One component that causes a lot of confusion is the air handler. Is this the equivalent of an air conditioner? We’re here to set the record straight.
What Is an Air Handler?
An air handler is the indoor part of some types of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that distribute conditioned air throughout the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, depending on the application.
Some consumers 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 components, all of which work 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 required. However, in climates where home heating is not required, an air conditioner may be the only HVAC equipment present. In this case, the indoor air handler operates along with the outdoor 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 circulate cooled, dehumidified air back to the building through ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, assisting with the heat transfer to the outside. This enables 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 typically found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less dependable, they are sometimes installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s called a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less prevalent in recent times. With no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps will need a dedicated air handler to circulate conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by pulling heat from the outside air and transferring it inside using the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to obtain heat before circulating it inside 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 come with a blower motor to move conditioned air. The blower is commonly located inside 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 produce heat. Once warmed, 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 circulates air within the ductwork. It drives air across the heating or cooling elements to control 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 contaminants from the air as it goes into the air handler to be heated or cooled. Air filter types and efficiency ratings vary depending on system requirements. Remember to change your air filter on a regular basis to avoid 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 operated to direct air to particular rooms as desired to maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers contain a humidifier or dehumidifier, which manages the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier puts moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier takes out 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 gauge 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 you out. Our team of talented specialists can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, making sure it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our exceptional work so much that we back each and every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to schedule air conditioning repair in North America, please contact a Service Experts office in your area today.