Up in the Air: Where Should an Air Handler Be Installed?

Juliet D'cruz

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Have you heard the saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place?” It applies to more than sofa pillows and dirty socks. Major appliances and home technology have their place too.

Everyone knows where the refrigerator and stove belong. But where’s the best place to install an air handler unit? Opinions vary, so let’s discuss the where and why of air handler installation.

What Is an Air Handler?

An air handler is part of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. If you have a heat pump, they also have an air handler component. They manage the circulating temperature in the home, based on your thermostat.

Your air handler contains three main parts. They work to send clean, climate-controlled air into your home. Those parts include:

  1. Air Filter – cleans pollutants from the air before it’s passed through your vents
  2. Blower Motor – a fan that circulates the filtered, conditioned air into your ductwork
  3. Evaporator Coils – contains a refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air to make it cooler

There are also three types of air handler blowers—single-, five-, and variable-speed. Speed options determine the efficiency with which your blower circulates conditioned air. 

A Trane air handler has variable speeds and rates among the most efficient on the market. Several Goodman air handlers also have multi-speed blowers. They too receive great customer reviews. 

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Air Handler Installation

Most residential homes have a two-part central air conditioning unit. The compressor’s placed on an outdoor slab away from direct sunlight. The air handler unit (AHU) is the indoor component.

The AHU is cost-effective and provides better comfort when installed in the right location. Choosing a spot close to the center of your home is the best solution.

With the air handler centrally located, conditioned air travels through ducts quicker. Shorter ducting times increase the unit’s performance cooling and heating your home.

What Is Ducting?

That’s a reasonable question. Ducts are where air travels to your home vents. There are air duct passageways in every room.

Now you can better understand why a central install location for your air handler works best. It allows for almost the same length of ducting between the handler and all the rooms.

Stay Clear of the Attic

Many people have their air handler installed in the attic. This might be a cheaper option but it’s not economical:

  • Lengthy ducting is less efficient, which raises operating coats
  • Condensation could ruin your ceiling
  • Issues with your air handler go undetected
  • Difficulty accessing for maintenance and repair
  • Tight space makes changing the filter a problem

There are two alternative locations for installing an AHU. The utility closet or an equipment room in the garage. But make certain to seal those areas well to prevent leaks.

If you’re still not sure where to install your air handler, ask the professionals. They can help you find the best location. Here’s more info about getting air handler installation advice. 

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Air Handler Location Matters

There’s no need to remain up in the air when it comes to air handler installation. For the most efficient and effective airflow, install the AHU near the center of your home. Speak with your HVAC dealer to confirm an optimum location.

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