The HVAC industry has several technical terms that are often very similar sounding, yet have very different meanings. As an Arizona homeowner, understanding the different pieces, parts, and terms of  your HVAC system will help you when it comes time to servicing or buying a new unit. 

Two of the most commonly confused terms are air handler and air conditioner. What is the difference between the two? Education is the best thing a homeowner can do before making any large decisions when it comes to your HVAC systems, whether you are buying a new unit or seeking repair service. Reliable Air Conditioning is here to help you understand the difference between an air handler and an air conditioner.

What is an air handler?

An air handler is designed to regulate and circulate the cool and warm air within your home. Typically recognized as a large metal box inside your home, it holds the fan to distribute the air throughout your home and works with your heating and cooling units. In Arizona, there are three standard setups a home can have with an air handler. 

  1. Air Handler + Furnace – If you have a furnace in your home, the air handler is likely a part of it. The air handler will work with your furnace inside your house and air conditioner outside your house to distribute the air they produce throughout your home. 
  2. Air Handler + Heat Pump – A heat pump will be outside of your house and is responsible for both warm and cool air. An air handler, located inside your house, will disburse the air produced by the heat pump. 
  3. Air Handler + Air Conditioner – Typically referred to as a package unit, this unit will contain all the heating and cooling necessities for a home. With a package unit, you will likely have one outdoor unit located on the roof. Package units are common in Arizona because of the mild winters.

What is an air conditioner? 

An air conditioner is the unit outside the home and is designed to remove the warm air from inside the house. This is a common misconception of air conditioners, they do not force cool air into the home, they draw heat outside. The air inside your home feels cool because the air conditioner removes the heat, not by the addition of cold air. 

How does an air conditioner work? 

Warm air from inside your home is drawn to your outside air conditioning unit through the air ducts. As it moves through the AC unit, the warm air will pass over a series of coils that contain refrigerant and remove the heat. The coils will transfer the heat outside of the unit and the cool air is drawn back into your home to provide you with cool and comfortable air. While the actual process and system is much more complex, this is the standard process of the air flow of an air conditioner.

As an Arizona homeowner, it is unlikely you know all of the components and parts of your HVAC system. Reliable Air Conditioning is here to offer you our support in understanding your air handler and air conditioner. We provide the Phoenix Valley with professional cooling and heating repair, maintenance, and new unit installation.

Contact our team today to have a comfort specialist provide you with more information on what type of air handler or air conditioner is best for you

Do you need help understanding your AC system?

Arizona's Most Reliable Air Conditioning Company

Reliable Air Conditioning is a family owned business providing quality residential and commercial heating, cooling, and air quality services to the greater Phoenix Valley, Arizona area. We offer over 15 years experience in the HVAC industry and are committed to providing our customers with professional service they can depend on. Our goal is to keep you comfortable inside your home or business all year long with customized options for your heating and air conditioning needs.

Trust your homes air conditioning and heating repairs and installation to the most reliable technicians in the area. We are committed to providing you with the air conditioning and heating services your need for our unique climate here in Arizona.