If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may come across confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One component that causes a lot of confusion is the air handler. Is this the same as 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 circulate conditioned air all through the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, based on the application.
Some individuals use the words “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 work 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 necessary. However, in environments where home heating is not required, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this case, the indoor air handler works 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 circulate cooled, dehumidified air back into the building through ductwork. Refrigerant lines attach 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 frequently found. In cold climates where heat pumps are less dependable, they are at times installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s called a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less prevalent as of late. With no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps require a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by pulling heat from the outside air and shifting it inside via 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 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 distribute conditioned air. The blower is commonly found inside the furnace. It blows 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 generate heat. Once heated, the air circulates back through the ductwork system and back 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 circulates air by way of the ductwork. It drives air across the heating or cooling elements to manage the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Depending on the type of HVAC system you own, the air handler may include heating or cooling elements, including an evaporator coil or backup electric heat strip.
- Air filter: An HVAC air filter takes dust, dirt and other airborne debris 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 on a regular basis to avoid 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 needed to keep a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers include a humidifier or dehumidifier, which manages the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier adds moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier removes 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 keep track of 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. Our staff of Expert 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 every single repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to request air conditioning repair in North America, please phone a Service Experts office in your neighborhood today.