If you’re hunting for heating and cooling services, you may find confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One component that creates a lot of confusion is the air handler. Is this the same as an air conditioner? We’re here to help sort this out.
What Is an Air Handler?
An air handler is the indoor component of some types of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that circulate conditioned air all through the building. Air handlers differ in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some consumers use the jargon of “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not correct. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and a number of other components, 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 necessary. However, in environments where home heating is not something that is necessary, an air conditioner may be the only HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler works along with the outside 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 to the building via ductwork. Refrigerant lines attach the air handler to the outdoor condenser, facilitating the heat transfer to the outside. This will permit the air conditioning to uphold a constant, cozy 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 reliable, they are at times 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 as of late. With no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps will need a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outside air and shifting it inside using the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to obtain heat before circulating it all over the building. A heat pump can also be used for cooling, where it retrieves heat from the indoor air and transmits 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 typically located inside the furnace. It forces 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 produce heat. Once warmed up, 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 disperses air throughout the ductwork. It moves air across the heating or cooling elements to control 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 takes 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 replace 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 needed to uphold a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers have a humidifier or dehumidifier, which controls the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier infuses 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 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 staff of talented professionals 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 back every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to request air conditioning repair in North America, please reach out to a Service Experts office in your area today.