Is an air handler the same as an air conditioner?

Asked By: Roma Kirikino | Last Updated: 17th June, 2020
Category: home and garden indoor environmental quality
4.2/5 (316 Views . 33 Votes)
An air handler contains the components that move the air throughout your home, called the blower. Air handlers can run with an air conditioner and contains the indoor coil, used to cool and heat your home depending on which system it's running with.

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Besides, what is an air conditioner air handler?

An air handler is usually a large metal box containing a blower, heating or cooling elements, filter racks or chambers, sound attenuators, and dampers. Air handlers usually connect to a ductwork ventilation system that distributes the conditioned air through the building and returns it to the AHU.

Secondly, what does an air handler look like? Air handlers look like a furnace, and are sometimes even mistaken for one. Air handlers can be made to work with a heat pump or air conditioner. It includes the indoor coil, which depending on the setting your system is running on, is used for both heating and cooling.

Hereof, do all AC units have air handlers?

An air handler will most likely be found inside the home as part of a split-system air conditioner or heat pump. The most common type of air handler found in homes are known as terminal units which consist of an air filter, blower and coil. The indoor coil is used to keep the air at a specified temperature.

Why do you need an air handler?

Working in tandem with the air conditioner, the air handler keeps the air cold and blowing. However, air handlers can also be beneficial in slightly cooler climates. They can contain both heating and cooling elements. The cooling element would be the evaporator coil, which removes excess heat from the air.

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Where should I put my air handler in my house?

To avoid the need for long ducting that can reduce efficiency, the air handler is best installed as close to the center of the home as possible. Two common installation choices are a utility closet inside the house or a well-sealed equipment room in the garage.

Where is the air handler on AC unit?

Most often, air handlers are located in the attic, basement or a dedicated closet, and may closely resemble the shape of a gas furnace. As its name suggests, an air handler “handles” the air inside your home and delivers warm or cool indoor air throughout your entire home.

How long should an air handler last?

Many homeowners decide to replace it after about 10-15 years for a new, more efficient model. In the long-run, replacing the system every 15-20 years (most systems' average life expectancy) is more economical in terms of maintenance fees and energy bills.

How much does it cost to replace the air handler?

Air Handler Costs. An air handler costs $500 to $3,500, with most homeowners paying $700 to $1,500. This does not include installation, which averages $1,500 and ranges $200 to $2,100. Air handlers connect to an air conditioner or heat pump to provide cooled or heated air for an indoor space.

What is inside an air handler?


The air handler is the indoor part of your AC system—and a vital part, at that! The indoor air handler unit comprises an air filter, coil, and blower. The handler pulls air in, passes it over the coils (to cool or heat), and then blows it back out into the home through the duct system.

Should I replace my air handler?

Unfortunately, the short answer is yes. You should replace your indoor air handler at the same time as your outdoor heat pump — or air conditioning unit if it's that time of year.

How heavy is an air handler?

Large Air Handler Weight
Depending upon the coil choices, weight dimensions range between 1,333 and 5,287 pounds. The filters also have a large weight range of between 247 and 2,740 pounds. The fan assembly can weigh between 1,825 and 2,544 pounds.

What is difference between air handler and furnace?

How Is an Air Handler Different From a Furnace? A furnace is an appliance that generates heat for a building by burning fuel, then distributes the heat through ducts into the rooms of the building. An air handler is an appliance that blows heated or cooled air through ducts.

What's the difference between HVAC and AC?

Put simply, these acronyms are one and the same. While AC is short for air conditioning, HVAC is short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. These two acronyms tend to be used interchangeably to describe any air conditioning or heating device, whether it's a window unit or a central system.

What is the difference between an air handler and a fan coil?


In simple terms, an air handling unit (AHU) is a component of an HVAC system that cools and distributes air into the space through a duct. A fan coil unit (FCU) is a standalone system that circulates the existing air in a small space, but it can also be a part of an HVAC system.

Can you replace just outside AC unit?

Often, a technician will recommend that you replace both the inside and outside portions of the air conditioner, but there are some exceptions to this. For example, if the air conditioner is relatively new and under warranty, your manufacturer may provide you with a new completely compatible unit at little or no cost.

What air handlers do?

An air handler's main function is to circulate the air in your system, and the components surrounding it alter the functionalities of heating, cooling, and air quality. Air handlers can be paired with an air conditioner, heat pump, and sometimes even a mini split system for both heating and cooling functions.

Can air handler outside?

It is always the case that an air handler is located inside, but it is not always the case that the stuff inside an air handler have to be inside. For example, a packaged unit combines the compressor, condenser and evaporator coils, and the fan in one big cabinet that is always installed outside.

What is a variable speed air handler?

A variable speed air handler is a component that a technician can add as part of your HVAC system. It helps circulate the air throughout the home, so whether you want to be warmer or colder, the handler is helping you get there without raising energy costs.

What is a multi position air handler?


The multi-position air handler provides contractors with installation options. The unit can be installed vertically (standing tall) or horizontally (laying down) which can mean going into otherwise too-cramped quarters.

Is the air handler part of the furnace?

An air handler, or air handling unit, is the indoor part of an air-conditioning or heat pump system. Air handlers work much like furnaces in that they efficiently move air throughout the home. The main difference is that the air handlers only circulate heat when paired with a heat pump.

What is the function of an air handling unit?

An Air Handling Unit (AHU) is used to re-condition and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system. The basic function of the AHU is take in outside air, re-condition it and supply it as fresh air to a building. All exhaust air is removed, which creates an acceptable indoor air quality.