If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may come across confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One thing that creates 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 deliver conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers range in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some people use the terms “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?
Usually, 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 something that is necessary, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this situation, the indoor air handler operates along with the outside 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 via ductwork. Refrigerant lines connect the air handler to the outdoor condenser, enabling the heat transfer to the outside. This allows air conditioning to uphold a constant, cozy 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 known as a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less popular in recent times. 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 pulling heat from the outside air and transferring it inside using the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to acquire heat before circulating it throughout 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 typically housed inside the furnace. It forces 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 create heat. Once warmed, the air is dispersed 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 within the ductwork. It moves air across the heating or cooling elements to control the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Based on the type of HVAC system you have installed in your home, 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 impurities 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 regularly to avoid 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 powered to direct air to particular rooms as necessary to uphold a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers contain a humidifier or dehumidifier, which regulates 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 tasked with regulating the air handler. It sometimes will 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 having issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help you out. Our squad of knowledgeable technicians can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, so that 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 request air conditioning repair in North America, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.