Air Handler: What Is An Air Handler?

  Many homes have what is called a Split System style HVAC unit. This means that the condensing unit sits outside and the air handler is inside the home. Often, the air handler does not get the recognition it deserves. It plays an important role in the HVAC system. The air handler’s job is to distribute hot or cold air through the home or building. By evenly distributing the air, it also helps to remove humidity.

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Where is it located?

Location can greatly affect performance.  The best location for the air handler is in a conditioned space such as in a closet inside the home or building. However, it is not unusual to find air handlers in an unconditioned space, such as an attic or garage. While both locations are acceptable, it is worth noting that an air handler located in an unconditioned space will have to work harder due to the heat load on that space. An air handler that is located in a conditioned space will not have to work as hard to overcome the heat load.


The Air Doctor recommends that you have maintenance performed twice a year on your HVAC system. Once in the spring and once in the fall. It is important to properly maintain your HVAC system so that it can operate efficiently. Cleaning the air handler’s coils helps keep the unit running correctly and helps eliminate mold and mildew. It is also necessary to check the drain lines for clogs and check the float switch operations.

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Indoor Air Quality.

The air handler is an important component when it comes to indoor air quality.  The air handler’s job is to distribute hot or cold air through the home or building. Dirty coils inside the unit can harbor mold, mildew, bacteria, viruses, and other allergens that can be spread back in the home or building. Various IAQ (indoor air quality) products pair well with air handlers to help keep coils and your air clean. UV lights can be mounted inside the system to kill allergens, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microbes as well as odors.

For more information on indoor air quality and products that pair with your air handler, click here ( ) to be redirected to our Indoor Air Quality page.

Knowing where the air handler is located, how to maintain it, and how it pairs with IAQ products is a great first step in making sure that your HVAC system is working to maintain optimal comfort levels for your home or business.  For more information please call The Air Doctor at 252-215-0966.

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