An air handler is a unit located in your home or building that has a blower fan, heating and/or cooling parts, filters, and dampers. The unit controls how much air is sent out through the air conditioner or heater. It also determines whether or not the air sent is warm or cool air.
Small air handlers for local use are called terminal units, and may only include an air filter, coil, and blower; these simple terminal units are called blower coils or fan coil units. The air handler connects to the ducts that distribute the conditioned air through the home or building and return it to the air handler through the return vent and air filter.
Fan Unit Problems
The fan unit that works in conjunction with the air handler is the fan that actually blows the air throughout the home or building. These fans work hard in Arizona and if your unit starts making strange noises or fails to blow at all, the main air conditioning fan may need to be replaced.
One of the most common air handler problems in Arizona is condensate pan leaks. AC units in the Phoenix area work hard during the summer and create a lot of condensation that will accumulate in the pan below the air handler. When algae builds up in the lines it can clog the drain line causing the pan to overflow and potentially cause water damage. In some cases, bugs or mice have enter the drain line from the outside of the house and clogged the line. If you ever see moisture or water pooling below your air handler… a condensation leak is usually the cause.
Dirty A/C Blowers
The filters in your home’s air handling unit protect its blower assembly. The typical air conditioning system circulates air through a “squirrel cage” blower fan into your home’s duct work. It is very important for you to check and change air filters at least monthly when the system is in use. The blades of a squirrel-cage fan are cupped in order to cause the spinning cage to move air. Dirt accumulation on the blades fills in this concave area, ultimately changing the “cup” to a simple flat area. The fan will spin just fine, but the air flow will be greatly reduced. Sometimes, the cubic feet-per-minute of air conditioning airflow can literally double when a very dirty fan of this type is cleaned or replaced.
Contaminated blower compartment
Contaminated blower compartments carry a risk to indoor air quality as well as health issues in buildings. Leaks into the blower compartment of an HVAC air handler invite mold problems too. Mice in HVAC systems are also a potential viral or bacterial hazard as well. These conditions suggest that there have not been regular inspections of the equipment.
Many people confuse the air handler with the condenser unit outside. The outside unit’s fan only helps cool the coils assisting the condenser. If you suspect any problems with your unit, give us a call to schedule service from a Rainforest Plumbing & Air certified HVAC technician.