If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One element that causes a lot 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 component 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, based on the application.
Some consumers use the terms “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?
Generally, an air conditioner [shares|uses|utilizes]109] the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is necessary. However, in weather where home heating is not required, an air conditioner may be the lone HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler works in conjunction 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 circulate 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 allows air conditioning to maintain a constant, cozy 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 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 these days. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps need a dedicated air handler to disperse conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing 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 through 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 distribute conditioned air. The blower is commonly housed inside the furnace. It forces air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that moves 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 generate heat. Once warmed, the air spreads back through the ductwork system and 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 drives air across the heating or cooling elements to regulate the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Depending on the type of HVAC system you have installed in your home, the air handler may contain heating or cooling elements, including an evaporator coil or backup electric heat strip.
- Air filter: An HVAC air filter eliminates 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 switch out your air filter on a regular basis to prevent 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 controlled to direct air to specific rooms as desired to maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers include a humidifier or dehumidifier, which regulates the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier adds 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 sometimes will include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to keep track of 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 out. Our crew of talented technicians can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, ensuring it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our exceptional work so much that we stand behind each and every 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 near you today.