Whether it’s AC repair or total AC system replacement, there are various terms within the HVAC industry that can get puzzling for homeowners. Not to mention all of the different pieces of heating and air conditioning equipment that can be used to improve your home’s energy efficiency and air quality. Of course we can’t write about all of the variations in a single blog post, so we’ll take a look at one of the more common inquiries we see at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning: what’s the difference between an air conditioner and an air handler?
What is an Air Handler?
An air handler contains the components that move the air throughout your home, called the blower. It is typically situated inside the home and runs with both the heating and cooling components of your HVAC system. If you take a quick peep at an air handler, it may closely resemble a furnace. Air handlers can work with an air conditioner and holds the indoor coil, used to cool and heat your home depending on which system it’s operating with.
Air handler vs Heat Pump
Just like an air handler runs with an AC system, an air handler works as a team with your heat pump. Heat pumps are used to regulate temperature by transferring heat, rather than creating it, and the air handler assists in moving all that heated or cooled air.
Air handler vs blower
Air handlers are not blowers. This can be confusing for some people, but it's not too hard to understand and we're happy to explain the difference. An air handler has the blower, and several other components inside. You may have dampers, filters, mixing chambers and more in an air handler. The blower is just one component of many.
Here’s what you ought to know about air handlers: if you’re in the market for a conventional furnace or air conditioner, you’ll probably never need to know what an air handler is because it’s probable you won’t need one. However, if you’re in the market for an electric heat pump, it’s helpful to know that an air handler will probably be a part of your home’s HVAC system.
Air Handler vs. Furnace
Air handlers and furnaces don't normally pair together. If you have a furnace you shouldn't need to worry about an air handler. Air handlers tend to be used with heat pumps and help improve air flow throughout the home. Some models also provide backup heating and cooling elements to help out the heat pump. A furnace works on a different concept. Instead of an air handler, furnaces have their own blowers that move the hot air into your ducts and disperse into your home. Since furnaces have combustion chambers and burn fuel to make heat, they don't need some of the parts you'll find in a modern air handler.
Air conditioners contain the condenser and are traditionally placed outside the home. One of the most common mix-ups with air conditioners is that they cool the existing air in your home. Air conditioners actually remove heat from inside your home through a number of components in your system and expel it outside. The removal of heat is what makes the air feel cool, not the addition of cold air.
The warm air inside your home is brought into the system through return ducts and then go over a refrigerant coil. As the warm air is blown across the cooled coil, heat is removed. Refrigerant lines then send the heat outside. Now you’re left with cool, comfortable indoor air that you can enjoy on the hottest of days. And that’s pretty much it. Sure, the equipment is more complex than that, but the process itself is easy to break down and comprehend.
Understanding all of your home’s heating and cooling parts for the Ravenna climate is probably a little unrealistic, but there are a number of things that can be helpful to you as a homeowner. If you’d like more information about your current system and whether an air handler or air conditioner is right for your home, give the professionals at Service Experts a call at 330-236-4793 or set up a free appointment online today.