How does an air handling unit work?

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An air handling unit handles the air as it flows through the home or facility that it is conditioning. Because it is conditioning the air, there must be a supply air stream and a return air stream. This allows the air handler to pull some portion of air that it has already recycled into the area to re-condition it. However, there are specifics to the design and how they actually work.

The general concept of how an air handler works is somewhat simple and the general air flows as follows:

  • Air is pulled in through the return stream or supply (outside) stream.
  • The air is filtered.
  • The air is cooled or heated.
  • The air is blown back into the home or facility

The components that make up the air handler are typically found within the home or facility. This is in contrast to larger facilities where the air handler may be found next to the building or on the roof.

In addition to the components listed above, there are additional components used, especially in the larger systems used for large facilities. Dampeners may be included to regulate the air flow to an area. Vibration isolation techniques are used as the helps keep the air handler and the surface it is mounted to structurally sound. Depending on the type of facility that the air handler is conditioning the air for, sound attenuation or baffles may be included in the duct work to reduce the noise from the system.

Details of The Main Components

The main components include the blower, filters, coils, and humidifier (especially for larger facilities). After the air has been pulled into the air handler via the blower fan, it typically passes through a filter to clean the air prior to passing it over the coils. The filters used at this point also help reduce the amount of particles in the air system. There can also be filters after the evaporator coils and ultra violet can be used to help reduce any microbes in the air. HEPA filters can be used for high quality filtering of the air.

After the air has passed through the first filter, it passes through the evaporator coils. The coils are what transfer heat from or to the air. When the coils are cooled, they cool the air as it passing over them is cooled. When the coils are warmed, the air passing over the coils is warmed. The air can also pass through a humidifier to ensure there is appropriate moisture in the air.

Ready to talk about an air handler in your home or facility? Call us at 408-295-2182 today.

Hiring a mechanical engineer for building retrofits, rebuilds, additions, or enhancements is the quickest and surest way to obtain the ideal facilities for supporting your operations. Are you ready to make your workplace more modern, efficient, or compliant? If so, we can help.

Call us today at 408-295-2182.


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