An air handler is a device that circulates warm or cool air throughout your home. It’s often paired with a heat pump or air conditioner, to circulate warm and cool air through the home.
What is an Air Handler?
An air handler is responsible for moving conditioned air throughout your home. It's primary function involves taking warmed or cooled air, from your heat pump, furnace, or air conditioner and distributing it through the ductwork, serving as a crucial asset in your HVAC cooling and heating system. An air handler closely resembles a furnace, sharing a cased unit design. Typically situated in the attic, basement, or dedicated closet.
What Does an Air Handler do?
Single-Stage Air Handler
Engineered to operate at one stage at a time, commonly used with single-stage heating or cooling systems.
Different Types of Air Handlers
Air handlers exhibit a range of capabilities and features. Some models are designed to offer multi-level operations providing to different levels of heating and cooling. While, others provide simpler single-stage performance.
An air conditioner actively cools the air by extracting heat, while an air handler functions to circulate the cooled air throughout your home. An air handler works with your air conditioner, however, it serves a different role within the HVAC system. It works in conjunction with other equipment like a furnace or heat pump to distribute heated or cooled air. Whereas, an AC is specifically designed to remove heat and moisture from indoor air, providing cooling functionality within the home. While an air conditioner focuses on cooling, an air handler helps in the distribution of warm and cooled air.
Difference Between an AC & Air Handler
AC VS Air Handler
Enhanced Air Circulation
Efficiently circulates cooled or heated air throughout your home, ensuring consistent comfort levels.
Compatible with various HVAC systems, allowing for tailored heating and cooling solutions.
Improved Indoor Air Quality
Equipped with filters to help trap dust, pollen, and other particles, contributing to cleaner indoor air.
Runs quietly, reducing noise levels and ensuring a peaceful indoor environment.
Often designed to fit in smaller spaces such as attics or closets, optimizing space utilization.
Changing or cleaning air filters to maintain proper airflow and indoor air quality.
Cleaning coils to prevent dirt buildup, ensuring efficient heat transfer.
Inspecting the ducts for leaks or blockages, ensuring consistent airflow throughout the home.
Fan and Motor Inspection:
Checking the fan and motor for any signs of wear or malfunction to enhance the system's longevity.
What's The Maintenance Needed?
The Answers You Need
Not all HVAC systems have air handlers. Air handlers are a crucial component in many HVAC setups, particularly those using forced air systems. However, some HVAC systems, like ductless mini-split systems, may not require air handlers as they directly connect the indoor units to the outdoor compressor and do not use ductwork for air distribution within the home.
Do all HVAC systems have air handlers?
Air handlers typically have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can contribute to extending the lifespan of an air handler. If properly cared for, some units can last even longer than the average lifespan.
How long do air handlers usually last?
Generally, you don’t need to replace the air handler when replacing the air conditioner if the air handler is in good condition and compatible with the new air conditioning unit. However, in certain cases, especially if the air handler is old, inefficient, or not suitable for the new AC unit, it might be necessary to replace both units for optimal performance and efficiency. Our team can help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation.