If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may find confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One thing that garners 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 portion of some models of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that distribute conditioned air throughout the building. Air handlers differ in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some consumers use the words “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not right. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and a number of other parts, all of which work 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 needed. However, in climates 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 in conjunction with the outdoors 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 deliver cooled, dehumidified air back to the building using ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, facilitating the heat transfer to the outside. This makes it possible for the air conditioning to preserve a constant, comfortable indoor temperature and humidity level.
Does a Heat Pump Use an Air Handler?
This is where air handlers are most commonly found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less dependable, 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 common these days. With no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps will need a dedicated air handler to disperse conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing heat from the outside air and shifting 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 additionally be used for cooling, where it pulls 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 usually housed within the furnace. It blows air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that moves 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 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 moves air through the ductwork. It drives air across the heating or cooling elements to manage the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Based on the type of HVAC system you have, the air handler may contain heating or cooling elements, including an evaporator coil or backup electric heat strip.
- Air filter: An HVAC air filter takes dust, dirt and other contamination from the air as it goes into the air handler to be heated or cooled. Air filter types and efficiency ratings vary based on system requirements. Remember to swap out your air filter routinely 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 maintain 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 gets rid of moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is a way to regulate the air handler. It may include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to gauge 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 you out. Our crew of experienced 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 schedule air conditioning repair in North America, please reach out to a Service Experts office in your neighborhood today.