Air Conditioner vs. Air Handler

If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may come across confusing, sometimes contradictory information about a variety of HVAC systems. One element that creates plenty of confusion is the air handler. Is this another way to describe an air conditioner? We’re here to clear things up.

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 circulate conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers differ 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 a number of other components, all of which function 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 required. However, in climates where home heating is not needed in a home or commercial property, an air conditioner may be the sole HVAC equipment present. In this case, the indoor air handler runs in conjunction with the outdoors 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 into the building using ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, enabling the heat transfer to the outside. This will permit the air conditioning to preserve 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 dependable, they are sometimes 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. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps will need a dedicated air handler to move conditioned air.

Heat pumps work by pulling heat from the outside air and moving it inside using the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to acquire heat before circulating it inside the building. A heat pump can even 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 move conditioned air. The blower is commonly housed in the interior of the furnace. It blows air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that moves 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, the air is distributed 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 through the ductwork. It forces 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 have 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 according to the 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 controlled to direct air to certain rooms as desired to keep a comfortable temperature.
  • Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers include a humidifier or dehumidifier, which regulates 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 a way to regulate the air handler. It might include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to monitor the temperature and humidity inside the building.

Schedule Air Conditioner or Air Handler Repair

If you’re experiencing issues with your air conditioner, air handler or other HVAC components, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help out. Our team of experienced specialists 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 back each and every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to schedule air conditioning repair in North America, please phone a Service Experts office in your neighborhood today.

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