If you’re searching for heating and cooling services, you may come across confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One component that creates plenty of confusion is the air handler. Is this the same as an air conditioner? We’re here to clear things up.
An air handler is the indoor portion of some types of HVAC systems. It connects to a network of air ducts that distribute conditioned air throughout the building. Air handlers differ in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some people use the terms “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and numerous other elements, all of which work together to condition and circulate the air.
Normally, an air conditioner shares the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is needed. However, in climates where home heating is not required, an air conditioner may be the only HVAC equipment present. In this case, the indoor air handler works in tandem with the outdoor unit, called the condenser.
In this setup, the AC unit’s air handler pushes indoor air across the evaporator coil, which absorbs heat and collects moisture, leaving the air handler to distribute cooled, dehumidified air back to the building via ductwork. Refrigerant lines connect the air handler to the outdoor condenser, assisting with the heat transfer to the outside. This allows air conditioning to uphold a constant, comfortable indoor temperature and humidity level.
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 known as a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less common these days. Because there is no furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps need a dedicated air handler to circulate conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by extracting 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 throughout the building. A heat pump can even be used for cooling, where it retrieves heat from the indoor air and transfers it outside, just like an air conditioner.
No. Furnaces come with a blower motor to circulate conditioned air. The blower is typically housed inside the furnace. It pushes 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 circulates back through the ductwork system and into the building.
The main parts of an air handler include:
If you’re having 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 excellent work so much that we back every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to request air conditioning repair in Jacksonville, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.
Student loan debt across the nation has been a growing issue for years. Today’s total student debt soars over $1.7 trillion, with the average college graduate owing $20,000 to $25,000. If you’re contemplating your educational journey or advising someone who is, it’s important to weigh the... Continue reading
By Brian Sodoma, for Service Experts With autumn around the corner, homeowners will soon be preparing for the winter months ahead. Cold weather puts additional demand on your HVAC system. To prepare your furnace for the heavy work it will need to do, routine HVAC maintenance should be on your... Continue reading
The HVAC business is in a constant state of change. With technological advancements and growing environmental concerns, the skills demanded of HVAC technicians are evolving faster than ever. Preparing to adapt and meet these new challenges is essential for anyone hoping to join the business. Find... Continue reading
© 2023 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.