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Air Handlers 101: What are They and Why are They Important?

Air Handlers 101

Are you curious about air handlers and their role in your HVAC system? Discover Air Handlers 101: What are They and Why are They Important? In this blog, we’ll explore the basics of air handlers and their importance for home and business owners in Hammond, LA.

What is an Air Handler?

An air handler is a vital part of residential HVAC systems; like your heating and cooling system, and is responsible for circulating conditioned air throughout your home or business. It consists of several key components:


The blower in the air handler is responsible for moving air through the system. It draws warm or cool air from your home into the air handler, where it is conditioned, and then distributes it back into your living spaces.

Heating and Cooling Elements:

Air handlers contain heating and cooling elements that work as an air conditioner. In the heating mode, these elements heat the air, and in the cooling mode, they circulate cooled air back into your home.

Filter Racks or Chambers:

Air handlers typically include filter racks or chambers that house air filters. These filters help remove dust, pollen, and other particles from the air, improving indoor air quality.


Dampers are used to control the flow of air within the air handler. They can be adjusted to direct air to different areas of your home or business, allowing for zoned heating and cooling.

Air handlers are usually located indoors, often in a basement, attic, or utility closet. They work in conjunction with your heating and cooling equipment, such as a furnace or heat pump, to ensure that conditioned air is distributed efficiently throughout your living or working spaces.

How Does an Air Handler Work?

The operation of an air handler is a crucial part of your HVAC system’s functionality, ensuring that your home or business remains comfortable throughout the year. Here’s a detailed look at how an air handler works:

Air Circulation:

The air handler pulls air from your home through the return ducts. This air is then passed through a filter to remove dust, pollen, and other particles, improving indoor air quality.

Heating or Cooling:

Depending on the season and the setting of your thermostat, the air handler will either heat or cool the air. If heating is required, the air handler’s heating elements or coils will warm the air. For cooling, the air is passed over the cooling coils, which removes heat and lowers the temperature.

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Air Conditioning:

In addition to heating and cooling, the air handler also plays a role in dehumidifying the air during the cooling process. As the air passes over the cooling coils, moisture in the air condenses and is collected in a drip pan or drained away.

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Air Distribution:

Once the air has been conditioned, the blower in the air handler pushes it back into your home through the supply ducts. This conditioned air is distributed evenly throughout your living or working spaces, maintaining a comfortable indoor environment.

Zoned Heating and Cooling:

Some air handlers can be configured for zoned heating and cooling, allowing you to control the temperature in different areas of your home independently. This can help improve energy efficiency and comfort levels.

Why are Air Handlers Important?

Efficient Air Circulation:

Air handlers ensure that conditioned air is distributed evenly throughout your home or business, providing consistent comfort. This helps eliminate hot or cold spots, creating a more balanced temperature throughout your living or working spaces.

Improved Indoor Air Quality:

Air handlers typically include filters that help remove dust, pollen, and other airborne particles from the air. This helps improve indoor air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory issues and allergies for you and your family.

Energy Efficiency:

By circulating air efficiently, air handlers help your HVAC system operate more efficiently. This can lead to lower energy bills and reduced wear and tear on your heating and cooling equipment, extending its lifespan.


Air handlers can be customized to meet the specific needs of your home or business. They can be integrated with zoning systems, allowing for zoned heating and cooling. This means you can adjust the temperature in different areas of your home independently, enhancing comfort control and potentially saving energy.

Types of Air Handlers

Single-Speed Air Handlers:

Operation: Single-speed air handlers operate at a constant speed, providing a consistent airflow regardless of the heating or cooling demand. When the thermostat calls for heating or cooling, the air handler operates at full capacity.

Benefits: Single-speed air handlers are simple in design and typically less expensive than variable-speed models. However, they may be less energy-efficient since they operate at full capacity even when less airflow is needed.

Variable-Speed Air Handlers:

Operation: Variable-speed air handlers can adjust their speed to match the heating or cooling demand. They operate at lower speeds when less airflow is needed and can ramp up to higher speeds when more airflow is required. This allows for more precise temperature control and increased energy efficiency.

Benefits: Variable-speed air handlers are more energy-efficient than single-speed models since they can adjust their speed to meet the demand. They also provide more consistent and even airflow, resulting in improved comfort levels and potentially lower energy bills.

Choosing the right type of air handler for your home or business depends on your specific needs and budget. Variable-speed air handlers offer greater energy efficiency and comfort control, while single-speed models are simpler and may be more cost-effective upfront.

Maintenance and Care

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure that your air handler operates efficiently and effectively. Here are some key maintenance tasks to keep your air handler running smoothly:

Changing or Cleaning Air Filters:

Air filters in the air handler should be checked regularly and replaced or cleaned as needed. Dirty filters can restrict airflow, reducing the efficiency of your system and potentially causing damage to the components.

Inspecting and Cleaning the Blower:

The blower in the air handler should be inspected regularly for any signs of damage or wear. It should also be cleaned to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated, which can impede airflow and reduce efficiency.

Checking Ductwork:

Inspect the ductwork connected to your air handler for any leaks or damage. Leaky ducts can reduce the efficiency of your system and lead to higher energy bills. Seal any leaks and repair any damage to ensure that your system operates efficiently.

Scheduling Annual Maintenance:

It’s recommended to schedule annual maintenance with a professional HVAC technician. During this maintenance visit, the technician will inspect and clean all components of your air handler, ensuring that it operates efficiently and effectively.

Monitoring Performance:

Keep an eye on the performance of your air handler. If you notice any unusual noises, odors, or a decrease in airflow, it may indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.

Regular maintenance and care are essential to ensure that your air handler operates at its best. By following these maintenance tips, you can extend the lifespan of your air handler, improve indoor air quality, and ensure that your HVAC system operates efficiently and effectively.

Now you can see that air handlers play a crucial role in your HVAC system, ensuring efficient air circulation, improved indoor air quality, and energy efficiency. By understanding the basics of air handlers, you can make informed decisions about your HVAC system and ensure optimal comfort and performance.

Choose Excellence With Nick’s Heating & Cooling 

Ready to upgrade your HVAC system with a new air handler? Contact Nick’s Heating & Air Conditioning LLC today for expert advice, installation, and maintenance services. Experience the difference with our premium HVAC solutions! 🌬️🏡

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