If you’re hunting for heating and cooling services, you may find confusing, sometimes contradictory information about various kinds of HVAC systems. One component that garners a lot of confusion is the air handler. Is this another way to describe an air conditioner? We’re here to set the record straight.
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 all through the building. Air handlers differ in size, type and capacity, based on the application.
Some people use the words “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and a number of other components, all of which operate 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 climates where home heating is not something that is necessary, an air conditioner may be the lone HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler runs in tandem with the outside 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 deliver cooled, dehumidified air back into the building using 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 maintain 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 reliable, 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 these days. Because there is no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps need a dedicated air handler to circulate conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing heat from the outside air and moving it inside using the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to acquire heat before circulating it inside 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 are equipped with a blower motor to distribute conditioned air. The blower is commonly found inside the furnace. It pushes air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that exchanges heat from a fuel source to the air blowing across it. The fuel source can be natural gas, propane or oil, which is ignited to produce 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 circulates air throughout 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 contaminants from the air as it flows into the air handler to be heated or cooled. Air filter types and efficiency ratings vary based on system requirements. Remember to replace your air filter routinely 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 operated to direct air to certain rooms as necessary 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 puts moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier takes out moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is tasked with regulating 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 experiencing issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help out. Our staff of experienced specialists 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 guarantee every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to schedule air conditioning repair in North America, please reach out to a Service Experts office in your area today.