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Air Handler HVAC

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Air Conditioning Maintenance Mooresville

AC Air Handler

An AC air handler is the indoor component of an air conditioning system that circulates cooled air throughout your home. It’s essentially the “delivery truck” of your AC system, taking the cool air produced by the outdoor condenser unit and distributing it evenly through your ductwork.


Here are the key components of an AC air handler:

  • Blower fan: This fan pulls in warm air from your home and pushes it through the evaporator coil.
  • Evaporator coil: This is a set of tubes filled with refrigerant. As warm air passes over the coil, the refrigerant absorbs heat, causing the air to cool down.
  • Air filter: This helps to remove dust, dirt, and other allergens from the air before it is circulated through your home.
  • Drain pan: This collects the condensation that forms on the evaporator coil. The condensate is then drained outside of your home.

Types of Air Handler

Air handlers come in various configurations, each suited for specific needs and applications. Here are some of the most common types:

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Split System Air Handlers:

Separate units with evaporator coil indoors and condenser outdoors. More flexible placement, potentially quieter than packaged units. Common in residential and light commercial applications.

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Packaged Air Handlers:

Self-contained units with all components in one casing. Compact and easier to install, ideal for smaller spaces. Less efficient and flexible than split systems.

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Fan Coil Units (FCUs):

Smaller units used with central heating/cooling systems. Receive conditioned air and distribute it within specific zones. Offer individual temperature control for each zone, improving comfort and efficiency. Common in multi-story buildings, hotels, and hospitals.

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Draw-Through vs. Blow-Through Air Handlers:

Classification based on airflow direction through the unit. Draw-through: Air pulled through filters/coils before being pushed out (better filter efficiency, potentially noisier). Blow-through: Air pushed through components before being distributed (quieter, potential for dust bypassing filters).

Frequently Asked Questions

An air handler is a crucial component of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system responsible for circulating conditioned air throughout a building. It typically contains a blower, heating or cooling elements, filters, and dampers, all housed within an enclosure. The blower fan forces air through the system, where it undergoes heating or cooling processes before being distributed through ductwork. Filters within the air handler help remove impurities from the air, while dampers regulate airflow to different areas of the building. Overall, the air handler plays a vital role in maintaining indoor air quality and comfort.

The primary difference between an air conditioner (AC) and an air handler lies in their functionality within a cooling or heating system. An air conditioner is a complete system that includes both an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (evaporator coil) responsible for cooling the air. On the other hand, an air handler is specifically an indoor component that circulates and conditions the air within a space, working with a separate heat pump or air conditioner to distribute cooled or heated air. While an air conditioner can operate independently, an air handler requires a compatible system to function effectively.

When the air handler malfunctions, it can lead to several issues within the HVAC system, such as reduced airflow, inefficient heating or cooling, and increased energy consumption. Common symptoms of a faulty air handler include strange noises, uneven temperature distribution, and frequent system cycling. Neglecting to address these problems promptly can result in further damage to the unit and potentially compromise indoor air quality. Repairs or replacement of the air handler may be necessary to restore optimal performance and maintain comfort levels in the space.

The lifespan of air handlers typically ranges between 10 to 15 years, contingent on factors like usage frequency, maintenance practices, and environmental conditions. Regular servicing, such as cleaning filters and inspecting components, can prolong their operational lifespan. However, as they age, efficiency may decline, prompting consideration for replacement to maintain optimal indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Advanced technology and improved materials in newer models may offer enhanced performance and energy savings, making upgrading a viable option after the initial lifespan expectancy.

The cost of air handlers can vary depending on factors such as brand, size, and efficiency ratings. Basic models tend to be more affordable, while high-efficiency or advanced features can increase the price. Additionally, installation costs should be considered, as well as any necessary modifications to existing ductwork or electrical systems. It’s advisable to research different options and consult with HVAC professionals to determine the most suitable and cost-effective solution for your needs.

Air Handler Vs. Furnace

Choosing the right one depends on your climate and heating needs. Consult an HVAC professional for guidance.

AC Installation Mooresville
1. Air Handler:
  • Doesn’t generate heat itself: Distributes conditioned air (cooled or heated) from other sources like heat pumps.
  • Key components: Blower fan, filter, drain pan, coils for heat exchange.
  • Ideal for: Moderate climates where heating needs are minimal.
  • Examples: Split system air conditioners, fan coil units.
2. Furnace:
  • Generates heat: Uses gas, oil, or electricity to directly heat air.
  • Key components: Burner, heat exchanger, blower fan, flue.
  • Ideal for: Colder climates where consistent heating is needed.
  • Examples: Gas furnaces, oil furnaces, electric furnaces.
3. Key Differences:
  • Heat source: Air handler relies on external source, furnace generates its own.
  • Applications: Air handler for moderate climates, furnace for colder climates.
  • Cost: Air handlers are generally cheaper upfront, furnaces more expensive.

Air Handler Not Turning On

Without specifics, here are some general reasons why your air handler might not be working:

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Check if the thermostat is set to the correct mode (heat or cool) and at a desired temperature higher/lower than the current room temperature. Ensure the batteries are functioning properly.

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Power Supply:

Verify that the air handler is plugged in and receiving power. Check for tripped breakers or blown fuses.

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Safety Switches:

Some air handlers have safety switches that trip in case of issues like airflow blockage or overheating. Look for reset buttons.

New Heater Installation - Do You Need A New Heating System?

If your house is uncomfortably cold during the winter months, it may be time to consider a new heater installation. Several signs indicate that your heating system needs to be replaced, including:

1. Increased energy bills

If your energy bills have been steadily increasing over the past few years, it may be because your heater is working harder than it needs to in order to keep your home warm.

2. Frequent repairs

If you constantly have to call for repairs on your heater, it’s probably time to replace it.

3. Old age

Most heaters have a lifespan of 10-15 years. If yours is older than that, it’s definitely time for a new heater installation.

How Does an Air Handler Unit Work?

An air handler is the workhorse of your air conditioning system, responsible for circulating and conditioning air throughout your home. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

Air Filtration:

An air handler draws air from inside your home through a filter, removing dust, allergens, and other contaminants.

Temperature Control:

The air then passes over a coil (evaporator coil for cooling, heating coil for heating) that exchanges heat with a source like refrigerant or hot water. This changes the air temperature to match your desired setting.


A blower fan pushes the conditioned air through a network of ducts and vents, distributing it throughout your home.

Moisture Control:

Depending on the system, the air handler might also remove or add moisture to maintain comfortable humidity levels.

By implementing these energy-efficient measures, you can significantly reduce your heating costs and enjoy a more comfortable living environment.

Troubleshooting Checklist:
Airflow and Distribution:
  • Check for reduced airflow or uneven temperature distribution.
  • Inspect dampers and blower fans for obstructions or malfunctions.
Noise and Performance:
  • Listen for strange noises indicating potential mechanical issues.
  • Monitor system performance for signs of inefficiency or frequent cycling.
Maintenance and Servicing:
  • Ensure regular maintenance, including cleaning filters and inspecting components.
  • Schedule professional servicing if experiencing persistent issues or unusual symptoms.
Lifespan Consideration:
  • Assess the age of the air handler and consider replacement if nearing or exceeding 10-15 years.
  • Evaluate efficiency and performance compared to newer models to determine upgrade viability.
Cost Evaluation:
  • Research various air handler options and associated costs, considering factors like brand and efficiency ratings.
  • Factor in installation expenses and potential modifications to ductwork or electrical systems for accurate cost assessment.

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