What Is An Air Handler?

An Air Handler is a vital part of any split system HVAC system.

Also known as an Air Handling Unit, (AHC) an Air Handler is the device within an HVAC or heat pump air conditioning system that “handles” the air that is brought in through the intake to be prepared for either heating or cooling. It prepares the air, by either removing or adding heat, depending on the season and the system in use. It actually changes the air that is being brought in. The Air Handler then circulates the air through the HVAC system for disbursement through the space to be heated or cooled. Smaller units are called “coils” and are used in split systems, those that act as both an air conditioning and heating system.

In larger systems, typically known as MAUs, for makeup air unit, the system actually does not handle re-circulated air. All air is brought in from the outside. These systems typically tend to be built more robustly than your average handler, as they must deal with larger volumes of air to condition a larger space. These outdoor units are also known as package units, or rooftop units. Schools, hospitals, and other large facilities employee these units for their use. They are built simply, with the design facilitating space utilization, durability, and cost effectiveness. A split system, air handling system will not be ideal for every climate. As every climate is different, thought should be given to the type of system you invest in.

Depending on the regular climate where you live, you can easily decide which type of unit you may need. In areas of high heat and humidity, you will want a solid condenser unit built into your HVAC system in order to maximize the air handling process. This will work to deliver maximum air cooling more economically than a singular unit. For those living in cooler or less humid climes, a heat pump/air handler system should be adequate to provide what you need in cooling and/or heating your house.

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