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What is an Air Handler?

DEFINITION: Air handlers circulate air throughout your home to maintain your desired temperature. They’re typically found inside the home and paired with a heat pump.



An air handler is a device that circulates warm or cool air throughout your home. It’s often paired with a heat pump, which uses a process that either cools or warms the house by removing or delivering warm air. The air handler takes the hot or cold air and distributes it throughout the house. This process keeps you comfy-cozy while you binge your favorite shows!

How Air Handlers Work

Your central heating and cooling system consists of two main parts–an outdoor unit and an indoor unit, such as an air handler. An air handler works in conjunction with a heat pump or air conditioner to circulate both cool and hot air, depending on the season. With properly sized air handlers, your family has the right amount of clean, comfortable air all year round. Plus, air handlers make a significant contribution to the overall efficiency of your system. That’s because the more efficient your air handler and outdoor units are, the less work your system has to do to make your home comfortable.

What are the different types of air handlers?

Air handlers come with various capabilities and features. Some are designed to operate with multiple levels of heating and cooling capabilities, while others are more simplistic with single-stage performance. The most common types include: 

  • Single-Stage Air Handler: Designed for one stage of operation at a time; typically used with single-stage heating/cooling systems. 

  • Multi-Stage Air Handler: Has multiple speeds so it can adjust to different heating and cooling requirements; often used with multi-stage or variable speed HVAC systems. 

  • Variable-Speed Air Handler: Features different speeds so it can match your desired comfort level; often used with variable speed HVAC systems. 

  • Packaged Air Handler: Combines the air handler, condenser and evaporator into one single unit that’s installed outside the home. 

  • Horizontal Flow Air Handler: Designed to fit in tight spaces such as crawl spaces or closets, these units feature a horizontal airflow. 



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