How Does an Industrial Air Handler Work?

The industrial air handler is an integral part of most industrial HVAC systems. Also known as an air handling unit, this device is responsible for the circulation and regulation of air through the HVAC system. Particularly because of its importance to the overall system, you may be curious about how your HVAC system’s air handler works. Before getting to know the process, it can be helpful for you to learn the terminology and types of air handlers so that you can better understand the unit that you use in your facility.

Your facility’s HVAC system most likely has a large outdoor air handling unit. These are commonly referred to as packaged units (PUs) or, when located on the roof, rooftop units (RTUs). Both of these are also called makeup air units (MAUs), as they only condition air from outside the facility rather than recirculating the air from inside. Air handlers that recirculate indoor air are known as terminal units. These are generally smaller and are only used in localized areas.

The Air Conditioning Process

The easiest way to explore how your air handler works is by examining the route that air takes through the various components of the whole unit. For most larger systems, this process is as follows:

  • Return fans bring air in from the return duct through air filters to prevent dust and other impurities from traveling through the system.
  • Heating and cooling elements, which may involve direct or indirect heat exchange methods, then condition the air to the desired temperature.
  • A humidifier may be present in colder areas to help prevent heating units from drying the air too much during the conditioning process.
  • In temperate climates, air is often moved to a mixing chamber, where return and exhaust air may be mixed to more accurately reach the desired temperature.
  • Supply fans will then blow the air back into the facility through the supply duct.

 

Not all industrial air handlers are made the same. Depending on the size, type, and other factors of your facility’s air handling unit, you may notice different or additional components. You can always talk to an expert if you have additional questions about the inner workings of your industrial air handling unit.

If you’re interested in more information or a free consultation at your facility, contact O.C. McDonald Company today at (408) 295-2182