Air Conditioner vs. Air Handler
If you’re looking for heating and cooling services, you may encounter confusing, sometimes contradictory information about different HVAC systems. One element that causes 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 component of some models of HVAC systems. It links to a network of air ducts that distribute conditioned air inside the building. Air handlers vary in size, type and capacity, dependent on the application.
Some individuals use the jargon of “air handler” and “blower” interchangeably, but this is not accurate. An air handler is an entire unit containing a blower and a number of other parts, all of which operate together to condition and circulate the air.
Does an Air Conditioner Use an Air Handler?
Normally, an air conditioner [shares|uses|utilizes} the furnace’s blower motor, so no air handler is necessary. However, in climates where home heating is not needed in a home or commercial property, an air conditioner may be the lone HVAC equipment present. In this instance, the indoor air handler runs along with the outdoors unit, referred to as the condenser.
In this setup, the AC unit’s air handler [blows|forces|pushes} indoor air [across|over|along the outside of} the evaporator coil, which absorbs heat and collects moisture, leaving the air handler to distribute cooled, dehumidified air back to the building using ductwork. Refrigerant lines link the air handler to the outdoor condenser, assisting with the heat transfer to the outside. This enables air conditioning to preserve a constant, comfy 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 at times installed alongside furnaces, creating what’s referred to as a dual-fuel system. However, advancements in cold-climate heat pumps make dual-fuel systems less typical in recent times. Without a furnace to lend its blower motor, heat pumps require a dedicated air handler to circulate conditioned air.
Heat pumps work by removing heat from the outside air and moving it inside through the indoor coil. The air handler blows air across the coil to obtain heat before circulating it through the building. A heat pump can additionally be used for cooling, where it retrieves 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 usually found within the furnace. It forces air across the heat exchanger, a metal component that transfers 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 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 components of an air handler include:
- Blower: The blower is a motor-driven fan that moves air throughout the ductwork. It drives air across the heating or cooling elements to control the indoor temperature.
- Heating or cooling elements: According to the type of HVAC system you own, the air handler may contain heating or cooling elements, including an evaporator coil or backup electric heat strip.
- Air filter: An HVAC air filter takes dust, dirt and other contaminants from the air as it enters 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 structures with zoned heating and cooling. They can be manually or automatically powered to direct air to particular rooms as desired to uphold a comfortable temperature.
- Humidifier or dehumidifier: Some air handlers include a humidifier or dehumidifier, which manages the indoor relative humidity level. A humidifier adds moisture into the air in the winter, while a dehumidifier takes out moisture in the summer.
- Control system: The control system is tasked with regulating the air handler. It might include a thermostat, humidistat or other sensors to gauge 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 out. Our staff of experienced specialists can diagnose and repair any problems with your climate control system, so that it runs safely and efficiently. We believe in our exceptional work so much that we stand behind each and every repair with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to request air conditioning repair in North America, please phone a Service Experts office in your neighborhood today.
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