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An air handler is the indoor unit of an electric central AC split system. They are usually found in a dedicated closet, attic, or basement. Air handlers circulate conditioned air through the ductwork of your home or office.
Air handlers contain a system’s evaporator coil and blower motor and air filter housed together in one cabinet. When running in air conditioning mode, the evaporator coil becomes cold and removes humidity as the air from inside the house passes over it through the return. In heating mode, the coil becomes warm and heats the air that passes over it. The blower motor and wheel is what draws the air from inside your home into, and over, the coils then out through your ductwork.
Blower motors can come in three types:
Single-Speed – Operates at one fixed speed, cycled on and off by a thermostat or controller.
Multi-Speed – Can operate at multiple different speeds depending on the needs of the system.
Variable Speed – The most efficient motor (25% less power consumption) varies fan speed to maintain precise control and airflow.
Electric Heat Kits (also known as emergency heaters) may also be installed to provide an auxiliary and back-up heating option. Most commonly used in locations that rarely see temperatures below 50 F or used as a back-up on a heat pump system when temperatures reach below freezing.
Pairing the right air handler with your condenser can also greatly increase the efficiency and SEER rating of an air conditioning, gas heat, or heat pump system.