If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may find confusing, sometimes contradictory information about various kinds of HVAC systems. One element 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 kinds of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that deliver conditioned air all through the building. Air handlers range in size, type and capacity, depending on the application.
Some individuals use the words “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not correct. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and numerous other parts, all of which function together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Typically, an air conditioner [shares|uses|utilizes]109] the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is required. However, in weather where home heating is not needed in a home or commercial property, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler runs in conjunction 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 inside the building through ductwork. Refrigerant lines attach the air handler to the outdoor condenser, assisting with the heat transfer to the outside. This makes it possible for the 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 frequently found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less dependable, they are occasionally 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 common in recent times. With no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps will need a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing 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 through the building. A heat pump can also be used for cooling, where it pulls heat from the indoor air and moves it outside, just like an air conditioner.
Does a Furnace Use an Air Handler?
No. Furnaces are made with a blower motor to circulate conditioned air. The blower is commonly found in the interior of the furnace. It blows air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that transfers 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 up, the air is dispersed 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 throughout the ductwork. It forces air across the heating or cooling elements to control the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Based on the type of HVAC system you own, 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 airborne debris from the air as it flows 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 structures with zoned heating and cooling. They can be manually or automatically powered to direct air to particular rooms as necessary 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 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 monitor the temperature and humidity throughout the building.
Schedule Air Conditioner or Air Handler Repair
If you’re experiencing issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to assist you. Our crew of knowledgeable 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 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.