What Is an Air Handler?

July 30, 2019 9:52 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The air handler is the part of an HVAC system that is used to circulate the air. In most cases, it will be a metal box that houses components that have heating, blowing or cooling elements, as well as filters, dampers and sound attenuators. Most of the time, your air handler will connect to a series of air ducts that facilitate the distribution of conditioned air through your home or building and then later return it to the air handler.

As is true of all components of your HVAC system, you may need occasional air handler maintenance in Kalamazoo, MI to ensure your system is working at its best. Here is a quick overview of some of the components and maintenance requirements of air handlers.


Filtration is crucial if you are to provide clean air that’s free of dust, pollen and other contaminants to the people occupying a building. Long-term exposure to these contaminants could cause or worsen respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies, so it’s important to have filters in place in the air handler. You’ll need to replace these filters on a regular basis, because once they get clogged up, they are no longer efficient at removing dusts and debris from the air. How long the filter lasts will depend on the building, the environment in which it’s located and your usage of your HVAC system, but as a general rule, you should check it every several months.

Heating and cooling components

Air handlers may be required to provide either heating or cooling (or both) to change the temperature of the air being supplied throughout the building and to lower the humidity level of the air, depending on where the air handler is located and what it’s primarily being used for. The conditioning of this air is performed by the heat exchanger coils in the system, which could be either direct or indirect.

Direct heat exchangers can be those found in gas-fired fuel-burning heaters, or refrigeration evaporators. Indirect coils, meanwhile, use steam or hot water for heating and chilled water for cooling. In either circumstance, the coils are going to be made out of copper, which aids in supplying hot or cold air.


Just as dehumidifying the air may be necessary as part of the air conditioning process, humidifying the air could be necessary in areas that have colder climates where continuous heating dries out the air, or in naturally dry climates without much moisture. There are a variety of types of humidification, including vaporization, evaporation, spray mist, ultrasonic and wetted medium. All of these methods serve the same purpose: to deliver more moisture to the air to improve air quality and reduce static electricity.


Air handlers will generally have a large blower powered by an AC induction electric motor, which is in charge of moving the air through the system. This blower could operate at a single speed or a variety of set speeds, or work with a variable-frequency drive.

For more information about your AC, or to schedule air handler repair in Kalamazoo, MI, contact All Brands Heating & Cooling today. We look forward to assisting you soon!

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