What Does An HVAC Air Handler Do?

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) air handler is a machine that regulates and circulates air. Air handlers are typically constructed as a big metal box that is made up of heating or cooling elements, a blower, sound attenuators, filter racks/chambers, and dampers. Air handlers are usually connected to a ductwork ventilation system that works to distribute the cooled or conditioned air throughout the home and then returns the air to the air handling unit.

Smaller air handlers are also available on the market and are typically referred to as terminal units. Terminal air units usually include a coil, air filter, and a blower. Air handlers that are larger in size typically condition only air from the outdoors (i.e., no recirculated air). These larger air handler units are makeup air units. There are also air handler units that are constructed for outdoor use (e.g., on the roof of a building) and they are referred to as rooftop units or packaged units.

Components of HVAC Air Handlers

Air handlers have several components as mentioned prior, including:

  • Air filter
  • Blower
  • Coils

The air filter within the air handler is located between the fan and the intake vent in order to ensure that the air brought into the HVAC system is filtered (i.e., purified) prior to being cooled and conditioned. The blower within an air handler is a fan that moves all of the cold air into the home or structure through the ventilation duct system. The coils that are inside the air handler are extremely important, as they are the piece of the machinery that conditions and cools the air within the home.

The coils work through a system that involves refrigerant being pumped inside the air handler. Afterward, a valve located inside the handler converts the refrigerant to low pressure and low-temperature gas that is then pumped inside the coils. The coils then work to condition and cool the air that is moving over the coils and the ventilation duct system. This cycle is repeated each time your house needs to cool and reach the desired temperature.

If you would like more information regarding HVAC air handlers or HVAC in general, please contact us at 408-295-2182.