If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One thing that causes plenty 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 portion of some models of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that deliver conditioned air through the building. Air handlers range in size, type and capacity, based on the application.
Some individuals 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 elements, all of which function together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Usually, 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 case, the indoor air handler operates along 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 via ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, enabling the heat transfer to the outside. This makes it possible for the air conditioning to uphold 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 occasionally 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 require a dedicated air handler to circulate 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 collect heat before circulating it through the building. A heat pump can also be used for cooling, where it extracts 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 move conditioned air. The blower is commonly found within 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 generate heat. Once heated, the air circulates 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 through the ductwork. It moves 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 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 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 switch out your air filter regularly 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 powered to direct air to particular rooms as necessary to uphold a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers include a humidifier or dehumidifier, which controls the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier adds 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 sometimes will include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to gauge the temperature and humidity in 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 talented specialists can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, making sure 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.