If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about various kinds of HVAC systems. One thing that creates 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 part of some kinds 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, based on the application.
Some consumers use the terms “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and several 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 lone HVAC equipment present. In this situation, the indoor air handler runs in tandem 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 to the building through ductwork. Refrigerant lines connect the air handler to the outdoor condenser, assisting with the heat transfer to the outside. This allows 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 typically found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less reliable, they are sometimes installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s referred to as a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less prevalent as of late. 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 pulling heat from the outside air and transferring 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 pulls heat from the indoor air and moves 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 most likely housed within the furnace. It pushes air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that transfers 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 is dispersed 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 moves air by way of the ductwork. It drives air across the heating or cooling elements to control the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: According to 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 eliminates dust, dirt and other airborne debris 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 routinely to prevent restricting airflow through the system.
- Dampers: Dampers are used to control airflow in properties with zoned heating and cooling. They can be manually or automatically controlled to direct air to certain rooms as needed 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 infuses moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier removes 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 in 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 assist you. Our staff of talented techs can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, making sure it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our exemplary work so much that we guarantee each and every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to set your home up air conditioning repair in North America, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.