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 causes quite a bit 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 models of HVAC systems. It [[connects|links|attaches|hooks up] 11] to a network of air ducts that distribute conditioned air all through the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, depending on the application.
Some consumers use the jargon of “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not right. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and several other components, all of which work together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Generally, an air conditioner [shares|uses|utilizes]109] the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is required. However, in weather where home heating is not needed in a home or commercial property, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler operates in conjunction 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 inside the building using ductwork. Refrigerant lines connect the air handler to the outdoor condenser, enabling the heat transfer to the outside. This makes it possible for the air conditioning to maintain a constant, comfortable 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 sometimes installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s called 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 will need a dedicated air handler to circulate conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing 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 through the building. A heat pump can also be used for cooling, where it retrieves heat from the indoor air and transmits it outside, just like an air conditioner.
Does a Furnace Use an Air Handler?
No. Furnaces are made with a blower motor to distribute conditioned air. The blower is most likely housed within the furnace. It forces air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that transfers 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, the air spreads 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 circulates air throughout the ductwork. It forces air across the heating or cooling elements to control the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: Depending on 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 goes into the air handler to be heated or cooled. Air filter types and efficiency ratings vary depending on system requirements. Remember to switch out your air filter regularly to protect against restricting airflow through the system.
- Dampers: Dampers are used to control airflow in buildings with zoned heating and cooling. They can be manually or automatically controlled 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 infuses moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier gets rid of moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is responsible for regulating the air handler. It may include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to track the temperature and humidity inside 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 out. 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 excellent work so much that we stand behind 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.