What is an air handler?
If you’ve decided that you don’t need to pair your air conditioner with a gas furnace, but you’re still interested in a split-system configuration, you’ll need to pair your equipment with an air handler. But, what exactly is an air handler you ask? Well, let us tell you.
You may have heard an air handler referred to as an “electric furnace.” But, this would be misleading. Air handlers can have backup heating operation (in the form of heat strips) that DO run on electricity. But, if you need powerful winter heating – the electric heat strips in your air handler are not going to be the most cost effective heating method.
An air handler is a great option for homeowners in more mild climates that don’t need as much heating power. These units pair with your air conditioner or heat pump and help with heat transfer. Heat pumps paired with air handlers are ideal for homes in the South (i.e. Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, etc.) And, air conditioners paired with heat pumps can be great options for homeowners in the southern tip of Florida or even Texas. You should discuss your home heating and cooling system options with your contractor before you settle on your components.
So, what are the basic components of your air handler?
- The most important thing your air handler contains is your indoor evaporator coil. In an air conditioner, this is where refrigerant absorbs heat (and evaporates) leaving cool air to be distributed through your home. Same with your heat pump, but it also is able to do the opposite (transferring heat into the indoor air/condensing operation).
- Your air handler also contains a blower/air distribution system that hooks up to your ductwork. Conditioned or heated air has to enter your home somewhere, and your blower is where it all starts.
Of course there are other components in your air handler, but these are the most important.
Does your home use a gas furnace or an air handler? Make sure that if you are experiencing any issues with your air handler (or simply interested in a tune-up) you call your local heating and air conditioner contractor.