If you’re hunting for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One component that creates a lot 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 circulate conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers differ in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some consumers 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 components, all of which function together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Normally, an air conditioner [shares|uses|utilizes]109] the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is required. However, in environments where home heating is not something that is necessary, an air conditioner may be the lone HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler operates in conjunction with the outside unit, called 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 inside the building using ductwork. Refrigerant lines attach the air handler to the outdoor condenser, facilitating the heat transfer to the outside. This makes it possible for the air conditioning to uphold a constant, comfortable 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. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps will need a dedicated air handler to circulate 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 acquire heat before circulating it throughout the building. A heat pump can even be used for cooling, where it extracts 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 distribute conditioned air. The blower is typically found in the interior of the furnace. It forces 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 generate heat. Once warmed up, 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 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: 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 contamination from the air as it enters the air handler to be heated or cooled. Air filter types and efficiency ratings vary according to the system requirements. Remember to switch out your air filter on a regular basis 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 powered to direct air to specific rooms as necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers have 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 gauge the temperature and humidity throughout 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 squad of Expert technicians can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, ensuring it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our excellent work so much that we stand behind 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 near you today.