What does an Air Conditioning Air Handler do?

Your air conditioner contains a multitude of parts that work in concert to keep your home comfortable throughout the year. The air handler is just one of these parts – and it’s a crucial one, as it helps distribute cool air to every room of your home. We’ll go into more detail about air handlers, what they do and what you can do if anything goes wrong with one.

How It Works

Ever notice how great a summer breeze feels, especially after you’ve worked up a sweat? Air movement works the same way for your air conditioner. In fact, it’s a key part of how your AC system works. There’s no way your unit can actually cool your home unless it can, in effect, make its own breeze.

That’s where the AC air handler comes into play. This device makes up the indoor portion of your home’s AC system if you have a traditional split system or even a ductless mini-split system. Just as the name suggests, this device “handles” the air by moving it throughout the AC system. The end result is a breeze that brings conditioned air to where it’s needed in your home.

Anatomy of an Air Handler

The air handler itself consists of three separate components. Each one works in concert to deliver cool, conditioned air to your indoor spaces:

  • The blower fan, which sits within the air handler and helps circulate air throughout the AC system. This is the air you’ll feel as it comes out of the ductwork.
  • The air filter, which sits between the blower fan and air handler intake. Any air drawn through into the air handler must first pass through the air filter before flowing through the rest of the system.
  • The evaporator coils that are situated inside the air handler. After passing through the air filter, airflow passes over the coils, allowing the coil to remove excess heat and send the now-cool air through the ductwork.

Air handlers can be equipped with different types of blower fans. Most come with single-speed blower fans that run at full tilt when turned on. Variable-speed blower fans have multiple settings and can run at as little as 40 percent of their rated top speed, which not only reduces energy costs but also reduces noise.

Caring for Your AC Air Handler

Routine maintenance plays a key role in keeping your air handler in great shape. Part of that maintenance should include changing the air filters on a regular basis and having the evaporator coils professionally cleaned at least once a year.

If you can’t get any airflow from your AC air handler, then it’s likely the blower fan has failed or there’s a duct blockage preventing air from passing through. Closed vents or a dirty air filter can also choke an air handler’s airflow.

Got AC Trouble? Call Us

If you need help troubleshooting your air handler or just want the peace of mind that comes from routine service, get in touch with us. Our HVAC experts can diagnose your air handler issues or even help you choose a new air handler for your AC system.

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