A competition or a team effort…air handlers vs. air conditioners.
Are you trying to figure out whether an air conditioner or air handler is right for your home? This actually may not be the best comparison to make. Air conditioners and air handlers actually do two different things and work together to cool your home on hot summer days. In fact, in some areas of the country you may have both.
First, what is an air conditioner?
Split system air conditioners use refrigerant to transfer heat from one air stream to another. They are located outside your home and are what you typically think of when it comes to cooling our home during the summer.
Okay, so what’s an air handler?
An air handler is actually an indoor component of your heating and air conditioning system. It works with your air conditioner or heat pump to transfer heat to and from indoor air, which is then distributed throughout the home.
All right, so how do they work together?
If you have a split-system air conditioner, it will either be paired with a gas furnace or an air handler. An air handler will typically contain backup electric heating strips to provide emergency heating when temperatures get cooler, while a gas furnace will use natural gas to create original heat. Generally, it is a good idea to pair your air conditioner with an air handler when temperatures to not venture too low during the winter – think of places like southern Texas and Florida. In most other areas, your air conditioner will be paired with a gas furnace. This is because it generally is more cost-effective to heat a home using natural gas than electricity.
If you’re looking to compare two different types of indoor units, you should check out our air handlers vs. gas furnace article. If you can’t decide on an outdoor unit for your split system, check out our air conditioner or heat pump article. if you still don’t know what to do, don’t fret! You can always get in touch with your local heating and air conditioning contractor.
What other questions do you have about air conditioners?