What is an air handler and what does it do?

Exploring the Role of an Air Handler: What is it & What Does It Do?

An “air handler” is a critical component of any HVAC system; it plays the important role of circulating heated or cooled air throughout a building. While often confused with furnaces, this device differs from them in that air handlers do not actually produce heat or cool air. Rather, they take existing air and redistribute it through their blower motor. Cleaning and inspecting coils on an annual basis can help ensure proper operation, while variable speed models offer improved energy efficiency and noise reduction capabilities when compared to more traditional units.

Air handler overview: Basic components and functions

An air handler, also referred to as an AHU (Air Handling Unit), is a central component of most HVAC systems. It works in conjunction with the furnace or heat pump and helps maintain a comfortable indoor environment by controlling temperature, humidity levels, ventilation, and air circulation. An air handler consists of several basic components that work together to provide efficient heating and cooling for your home.

The blower motor in the air handler is responsible for circulating conditioned air throughout the house via ductwork. The blower motor can be single speed or variable speed depending on the system type installed in your home. A variable-speed motor offers more precise control over airflow which results in improved comfort levels and energy efficiency compared to single-speed motors found in traditional furnaces. Additionally, some models are equipped with noise-reduction technology making them quieter than standard units when running at low speeds such as during nighttime operation when less airflow is needed for comfort purposes.

Cleaning coils inside an Air Handler unit should be done regularly to ensure optimal performance from your system year round; this includes cleaning both evaporator coils (in summer) and condenser coils (in winter). Dirty coils reduce efficiency resulting in higher utility bills due to increased energy consumption while simultaneously reducing overall comfort level within the space being cooled/heated by limiting proper airflow delivery through dirty filters & clogged coil fins preventing adequate exchange between hot/cold mediums respectively. Cleaning these components will not only increase efficiency, but it will also help extend equipment life span & reduce repair costs associated with neglected maintenance tasks like this one.

Types of air handlers: Single speed, multi-speed, variable speed

Air handlers are an important part of any HVAC system. An air handler works in conjunction with a furnace to condition the air within your home or office space, providing comfort, and improved indoor air quality. There are several types of air handlers available on the market today, each offering different levels of efficiency and features.

Single-speed air handlers feature only one blower motor setting that operates at full capacity when turned on; these models tend to be noisier than other options due to their single-speed operation. Multi-speed units offer more control over airflow by allowing you to adjust the fan speed as needed; this can help reduce noise but also increases energy costs since they use more electricity than single-speed models. Variable speed units provide even greater precision by using multiple speeds depending on conditions such as humidity or temperature level; this allows for maximum efficiency while still reducing noise levels significantly compared to single or multi-speed systems.

Cleaning coils is essential for all types of air handlers, regardless of model type, in order to maintain optimal performance and prevent damage from dirt buildup over time. Additionally, some variable-speed systems may include additional features such as adjustable dampers that allow you to customize airflow patterns throughout your living space for increased comfort and better distribution of conditioned air across rooms – perfect for those who suffer from allergies or asthma! Noise reduction is another benefit offered by certain high-end models that utilize soundproofing insulation materials around its cabinet walls – helping keep operational noise down so it won’t disturb occupants during sleep hours or work times alike!

Air handler installation: Sizing and placement

Air handler installation is a critical part of any HVAC system. The size and placement of the air handler can have an impact on its performance, efficiency, and noise levels. It is important to understand the differences between an air handler and a furnace as well as how blower motors in air handlers work to properly install one for optimal results.

When it comes to sizing your air handler correctly, you will want to consider factors such as the size of your home or business space and the type of climate control needed. Additionally, proper placement should also be taken into account when installing an air handler unit; this includes location within the building structure itself (such as a basement or attic), proximity to windows/doors, etc., all of which can affect airflow dynamics throughout your space.

Cleaning coils on a regular basis helps keep dust particles from accumulating inside the unit which can reduce energy costs by improving airflow efficiency over time. Furthermore, investing in a variable speed motorized fan helps with noise reduction while providing consistent cooling/heating temperatures year-round without having to constantly adjust settings manually–a great feature if you’re looking for convenience! Ultimately these are just some key considerations when selecting and installing an appropriate-sized air handling unit that works best for your needs; however professional guidance may be necessary depending on the complexity of installation requirements so make sure you consult with certified HVAC technicians prior taking on project yourself!
Air handler maintenance and repair: Filter replacement and cleaning

Air handler maintenance and repair are an important part of keeping your home or business comfortable. Properly maintained air handlers can improve energy efficiency, reduce noise levels, and help extend the life of the system. One key component to effective air handler maintenance and repair is filter replacement and cleaning.

When it comes to air-handling systems, there are a few differences between them and furnaces that must be taken into account when performing repairs or replacements on filters. The blower motor in an air handler will typically run at higher speeds than a furnace’s blower motor making it more efficient but also requiring more frequent filter changes due to increased dirt accumulation from running faster speeds. Additionally, if you have a variable speed air handler then special attention needs to be paid as these units require specific types of filters suited for their operation mode which may need replacing more often than standard single-speed models depending on usage requirements.

Cleaning coils within an air handler should not be overlooked during routine maintenance either as they too can become clogged with dust over time reducing performance resulting in higher energy costs associated with the unit having to work harder while trying to maintain desired temperatures throughout your space(s). Furthermore, regularly cleaning coils can help reduce overall noise levels coming from your unit allowing for improved comfortability inside without having loud fan noises emanating constantly from the equipment itself; something especially beneficial if you live in close proximity with neighbors who would otherwise hear any excessive sounds created by improperly maintained components such as dirty coils/filters etc.

Upgrading to a new air handler: Energy efficiency benefits

Upgrading to a new air handler can bring significant energy efficiency benefits. An air handler is an important component of your home’s HVAC system and replacing it with a newer model can improve the overall performance of your system. Compared to traditional furnaces, modern air handlers are much more efficient in terms of their energy consumption and have improved capabilities for controlling temperature and humidity levels within the home.

A key feature that sets many modern air handlers apart from standard furnaces is their use of blower motors. These powerful fans to allow them to move more air than typical furnace models, resulting in better circulation throughout the house while also reducing noise levels inside the home. In addition, they often come equipped with variable speed settings so you can adjust how quickly or slowly they run depending on your needs at any given time.

Finally, another benefit associated with upgrading to a new air handler is improved indoor air quality due to its ability to clean coils located along its interior walls which help remove dust particles from circulating through your living space as well as reducing allergens such as pet dander and pollen that may be present in the environment. By investing in a high-quality unit you will not only enjoy greater comfort but also reap long-term savings on energy costs over time making it an ideal choice for those looking for increased efficiency without sacrificing performance or reliability when heating or cooling their homes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an air handler and a furnace?

The primary difference between an air handler and a furnace is that an air handler does not generate heat, it only moves heated or cooled air around the home. A furnace, on the other hand, uses fuel to create heat which is then circulated throughout the house by either an HVAC system or forced-air distribution system.

How does a blower motor work in an air handler?

A blower motor in an air handler functions to generate airflow through the system by rotating a fan blade. The motor is typically activated via electrical and thermal controls, which manage airflow rate based on temperature settings or user preferences.

Are there any special requirements for cleaning air handler coils?

Yes, professional cleaning of air handler coils requires adherence to specific guidelines in order to be effective. Proper techniques and materials must be used in order to ensure optimal results.
Should I choose a variable speed air handler for better noise reduction?

Yes, selecting a variable speed air handler is an effective way to reduce noise levels.


An air handler is an essential component of any HVAC system, working in tandem with a furnace to control the air movement and temperature. What sets it apart from a regular furnace is its robust blower motor, which can be set on high or low speeds for efficient operation. Cleaning and servicing the coils regularly ensures that they run at their peak performance as well as minimize noise disruption. High-end models also offer variable speed settings; these are beneficial to reduce energy costs while maximizing comfort levels through silent airflow. With proper upkeep and care, an air handler takes on multiple roles within one’s heating/cooling system – providing superior efficiency without producing distracting sounds or ruckus in any living space.

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