If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One thing that creates a lot of confusion is the air handler. Is this another way to describe an air conditioner? We’re here to help sort this out.
What Is an Air Handler?
An air handler is the indoor portion of some models of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that distribute conditioned air through the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, based on the application.
Some consumers use the jargon of “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and several other parts, 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 weather where home heating is not needed in a home or commercial property, an air conditioner may be the only HVAC equipment present. In this case, the indoor air handler runs along 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 distribute cooled, dehumidified air back inside the building through ductwork. Refrigerant lines connect the air handler to the outdoor condenser, enabling the heat transfer to the outside. This allows air conditioning to maintain a constant, comfy 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 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 typical as of late. Because there is no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps need a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outside air and moving it inside via 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 retrieves heat from the indoor air and transmits it outside, just like an air conditioner.
Does a Furnace Use an Air Handler?
No. Furnaces are made with a blower motor to distribute conditioned air. The blower is usually found in the interior of the furnace. It pushes air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that exchanges 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 create heat. Once warmed up, the air circulates 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 through the ductwork. It moves air across the heating or cooling elements to regulate the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Based on the type of HVAC system you have installed in your home, 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 impurities from the air as it enters 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 regularly to avoid restricting airflow through the system.
- Dampers: Dampers are used to control airflow in buildings 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 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 may 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 help you out. Our staff of Expert 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 each and every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to schedule air conditioning repair in North America, please phone a Service Experts office near you today.