Air Conditioner vs. Air Handler

Man in front of a fan needing Summertime AC solutions.

Living and working in Georgia during the summer, you are very familiar with an Air Conditioner or HVAC system. It is extremely important to have one especially during the extremely hot temperatures of summer. Have you ever heard of an air handler? If not, we’ll help you understand what one is and how it works with your air conditioner.

What is an Air Handler?

Air handlers work together with your overall HVAC system, but they are not the complete air conditioning system alone.

An air handler houses the equipment necessary to move air through your home or business. In most cases, it is located inside and operates both the heating and cooling systems. Air handlers can be mistaken as the furnace. Air handlers work with both a heat pump and air conditioner which includes the indoor coil. Depending on your system’s setting, it can be used for both heating and cooling.

A handler’s main job is to circulate the air throughout your home. It keeps the air cold and blowing. The indoor air handler unit is comprised of 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. Air handlers work well in slightly cooler climates too because they contain both heating and cooling elements.

An air handler circulates and regulates indoor air as part of a heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. It is tasked with circulating conditioned air throughout your home. Air handlers assist in making your system more energy-efficient and provide higher quality air. Then, your outdoor unit doesn’t have to work as hard.

Terminal units are small air handlers which typically come with an air filter, coil, and blower. Makeup air units are the larger air handlers which are capable of conditioning 100% of the outside air and contain no re-circulated air. Packaged units or rooftop units are made for the outdoors.

What is Air Conditioning

Unlike air handlers, air conditioning units are usually located outside the home. This process involves warm air passing over a refrigerant coil, which results in the removal of heat, which is known as the Joule Thomson effect.

The condenser of an air conditioning unit is usually kept outside of your home or business. The air conditioning unit actively pulls heat out of the building through a variety of components configured together, and then the hot air is redirected outside. During this process, air moves through the system through return ducts and over a refrigerant coil.

Condensers are part of the air conditioner unit and are traditionally set outside the home. A common misconception with air conditioners is that they cool the air in your home. Air conditioners actually pull out heat from inside your home and then expel it outside. What makes the air feel cool is the removal of heat, not the addition of cold air.

Where is an Air Handler Located?

The air handler is typically located in a closet or the attic. Its job is to blow air through the evaporator coil and then it transfers the air throughout your home or office building using the ductwork to ensure that every room is heated or cooled properly.

Do You Need an Air Handler?

Are you wondering if you need an air handler? The answer is yes if you have a split-system air conditioner or heat pump. It is the indoor component that works in conjunction with the outdoor component.

If you need help understanding the different systems or which one would work best with your HVAC, give us a call at 678-926-9676?

Contact Us

Contact the pros at TRUST Heating & Air to discuss savings tips and free estimates. We have 24/7 Emergency Services. Just call us at 678-926-9676 to come out and resolve the problem.