AC Anatomy: What Is an Air Handler?

Learning the parts of your air conditioning system may seem as interesting as watching paint dry—but wait! AC anatomy is not only surprisingly interesting, but knowing some HVAC lingo can benefit you too. And since your air conditioning system is one of the most expensive appliances you’ll purchase for your home, don’t you want to know what’s lurking within the unit? With this week’s spotlight on air handlers, we’re demystifying what it is, what it does, and how you can ensure it’s performing efficiently to help you and your home stay comfy.

So, What is an Air Handler?

Air handlers (also known air handling units or AHU for short) are fairly complex. In the simplest terms, an air handler is a part within an HVAC unit that works to regulate and circulate air. The elements of an air handler are usually housed in a large metal box which contains a blower, heating and cooling elements, filter racks, dampers, and other additional parts we’ll discuss later on in our AC Anatomy series. The air handler is responsible for numerous things such as determining whether the air that is sent throughout a home or business is cool or warm.

What are Common Issues Air Handlers Experience?

Air handlers work harmoniously with other essential parts of your AC system to keep you comfortable year-round—but, as with any appliance, sometimes your air conditioning system may go a little haywire. Here are some of the most common issues your air handler may run into:

  • Leaks. We love Florida for the mild climate that lasts nearly all year, but the climate can also put stress on your AC system and the air handlers alike. One of the common issues air handlers face is condensation leaks due to the system working overtime in hot weather. These leaks will accumulate in the pan that is located directly below the air handler. As the pan accumulates water, algae can build up and cause clogs in the drain lines—so, if you notice any water pooling under the air handler, it’s probably a leak. This is important to keep in mind and look out for because it can help you easily diagnose an issue with your AC and air handler and fix it early on!
  • Faulty Fan Unit. The air handler works alongside a fan unit to keep your home comfortable. While the air handler regulates and circulates air, the fan unit helps to blow the air throughout the rooms of your home. During warm months, these fans work tirelessly to continuously blow air throughout the rooms of our homes and may break. If you notice your home isn’t as cool as it should be, check both the air handler unit and the fan unit.

Ultimately, air handlers are an integral component of all air conditioning systems. By knowing what an air handler is and what it does, you can more easily assess any potential issues your system may run into. While self-diagnosing may work sometimes, be sure to call your local professionals at Engineered Air if you think your air handler is broken. We’ll quickly diagnose the issue and solve any problems so your home can feel its best! For more information, visit Engineered Air today or read more AC anatomy here.