If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may come across confusing, sometimes contradictory information about a variety of HVAC systems. One thing that garners a lot of confusion is the air handler. Is this the same as an air conditioner? We’re here to clear things up.
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 circulate conditioned air all through the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some consumers use the words “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not correct. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and numerous other parts, 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 climates where home heating is not required, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this situation, the indoor air handler operates 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 circulate cooled, dehumidified air back into the building via ductwork. Refrigerant lines connect the air handler to the outdoor condenser, facilitating the heat transfer to the outside. This allows air conditioning to preserve 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 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 prevalent these days. Because there is no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps require a dedicated air handler to disperse conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by pulling heat from the outside air and moving it inside via 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 retrieves heat from the indoor air and moves it outside, just like an air conditioner.
Does a Furnace Use an Air Handler?
No. Furnaces are equipped with a blower motor to move conditioned air. The blower is usually located inside the furnace. It pushes air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that moves heat from a fuel source to the air blowing past it. The fuel source can be natural gas, propane or oil, which is ignited to generate heat. Once warmed up, the air is dispersed 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 eliminates dust, dirt and other airborne debris from the air as it flows into the air handler to be heated or cooled. Air filter types and efficiency ratings vary based on system requirements. Remember to replace your air filter routinely 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 desired 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 adds moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier takes out 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 track the temperature and humidity in the building.
Schedule Air Conditioner or Air Handler Repair
If you’re suffering from issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help. Our team of experienced technicians can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, making sure it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our exceptional work so much that we stand behind all repairs with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to set your home up air conditioning repair in North America, please contact a Service Experts office in your area today.