HVAC 101: What is an air handler? | AA Temperature Services Southwest Florida

If your home has ducts and vents, your AC and heating system should be what is called a “forced air” system. This means that the conditioned air — either heated or cooled — is blown throughout your home by an air handler. But, what exactly is an air handler and how does it work?

Air handler basics

Air handlers are known by several other names, including “AHU”, “air handling unit”, or even “blower motor”. Often, they employ a “squirrel cage” type of electric motor to move air throughout the home. Air handlers are both simple and complicated; there are many factors that can affect an air handler’s performance, including proper balancing. We’re proud to sell and service Champion air handlers for our customers installing new AC systems in Southwest Florida, which are designed to help reduce utility costs and are tuned to reduce noise and provide exceptional comfort.

Air handler vs. air conditioning system

Your air handler is a component of your air conditioning system, and works together with other components to cool the air inside your home. Learn more about the components of your air conditioning system.

How to extend the life of your air handler

As a critical component in every cooling and heating system, it’s important to take care of the air handler.

  • First, make sure to keep up with routine maintenance. This will help keep your air handler in tip-top shape, and discover any growing problems before they become a breakdown (or an expensive repair that could have been avoided.) Our maintenance plan really helps with this, by providing 2 annual tune ups as well as reminders of when you need to schedule!
  • Second, ensure that your air filter is changed out regularly. A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow, which can cause the air handler to work much harder than it was designed to. This leads to more wear on the components, which in turn leads to faster equipment failure.
  • Third, consider adding a UV light or whole home air purification system to your home. Depending on your setup, the equipment may be mounted inside the air handler or near the AC coil. UV lights help to kill the germs that cause mold — which, due to Southwest Florida’s humidity — can be a real problem that will damage the system over time. Whole home air purification systems take this a step further by helping the existing air filter catch more debris, which helps keep it away from your precision HVAC equipment.

More helpful HVAC blogs

Still curious? Here’s some other helpful blogs where you can learn more about the components of your Florida AC and heating system from AA Temperature Services!