If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One component that garners quite a bit 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 portion 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 range in size, type and capacity, depending on the application.
Some individuals use the jargon of “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and several other parts, 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 necessary. However, in climates where home heating is not required, an air conditioner may be the only HVAC equipment present. In this situation, the indoor air handler operates along with the outdoor 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 using 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, comfortable 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 occasionally 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 in recent times. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps need a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outside air and transferring it inside via the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to acquire heat before circulating it throughout 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 come with a blower motor to circulate conditioned air. The blower is most likely found in the interior of the furnace. It forces air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that transfers 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 spreads 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 moves air through 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 removes 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 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 powered to direct air to particular rooms as desired 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 adds moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier takes out moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is a way to regulate the air handler. It might include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to track the temperature and humidity inside 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, ensuring it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our excellent work so much that we guarantee 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.