If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One component that causes plenty of confusion is the air handler. Is this another way to describe an air conditioner? We’re here to clear things up.
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 distribute conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers range in size, type and capacity, depending on the application.
Some people use the terms “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and numerous other parts, all of which work together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Generally, an air conditioner [shares|uses|utilizes]109] the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is required. However, in environments where home heating is not something that is necessary, an air conditioner may be the only HVAC equipment present. In this case, the indoor air handler works in tandem with the outdoors unit, known 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 circulate cooled, dehumidified air back to the building using ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, enabling the heat transfer to the outside. This allows air conditioning to uphold 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 effective, they are at times installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s known as a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less popular as of late. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps need a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by pulling heat from the outside air and shifting it inside using the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to collect heat before circulating it all over the building. A heat pump can additionally be used for cooling, where it retrieves 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 distribute conditioned air. The blower is typically located in the interior of the furnace. It blows air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that exchanges heat from a fuel source to the air blowing past it. The fuel source can be natural gas, propane or oil, which is ignited to create heat. Once warmed, the air spreads 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 throughout the ductwork. It moves 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, the air handler may include heating or cooling elements, including an evaporator coil or backup electric heat strip.
- Air filter: An HVAC air filter eliminates 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 depending on system requirements. Remember to switch out your air filter routinely 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 specific rooms as necessary to keep a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers have a humidifier or dehumidifier, which manages 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 may 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 having issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to assist you. Our crew of experienced specialists can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, ensuring it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our exemplary work so much that we guarantee every single repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to request air conditioning repair in North America, please contact a Service Experts office in your area today.