Check Out The New 2023 Tax Credits & Rebates! Read More

Skip navigation

Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog

HVAC 101: Air Handlers and Heat Pumps in Birmingham, AL Homes

Many Birmingham, AL homes choose heat pumps for year-round indoor comfort. An excellent, low-energy choice for the Birmingham area, heat pumps work together with air handlers to supply your home with warmth during the winter and cool air during the summer. Learn how this equipment operates and how to care for it for optimal comfort throughout the year.

What Is an Air Handler?

While many Birmingham, AL homeowners are familiar with heat pumps and their function, the air handler is a lesser-known component which plays a big role in indoor comfort. Air handlers are paired with heating and cooling equipment and manage airflow in the home. The air handler is the indoor component of a heat pump system and contains critical components housed in a metal cabinet.

Air Handler Components

The air handler cabinet houses components which work with the heat pump for indoor comfort control. Within the air handler cabinet, you’ll find:

  • Blower motor, which moves air through the duct system
  • Evaporator coil, which absorbs heat from the air within your home for cooling and expels refrigerant heat into the air for heating
  • Air filter, which removes airborne contaminants from the air circulating through your HVAC system

Some air handlers for heat pumps also contain electric heat strips. These heat strips serve as a backup heating source for heat pumps when temperatures drop for extended periods.

Heat Pumps and Air Handlers Work Together

Heat pumps and air handlers work together to deliver the conditioned air your home needs throughout the year. They maintain comfortable indoor temperatures whether it’s hot or cold outside.

Air handlers help heat pumps perform heating and cooling processes and circulate conditioned air into the home. The air handler’s evaporator coil aids in the transfer of heat between indoor and outdoor air. The blower motor moves air between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Care for Heat Pumps and Air Handlers

Both heat pumps and air handlers need routine maintenance to perform well. Because air handlers and heat pumps operate all year and provide both heating and cooling for Birmingham, AL homes, we recommend preventative maintenance by skilled HVAC technicians every six months.

Preventative maintenance provides necessary care to undo the damage of wear and tear between the heating and cooling seasons. Technicians inspect components so they operate more efficiently and lower energy bills.

They tighten and lubricate bearings and belts within the blower motor. In addition, they clean the evaporator coil to eliminate dirt and debris. If neglected, this buildup reduces system efficiency.

Air handler maintenance also includes an air filter change, if needed. We recommend an air filter check monthly. For most Alabama homeowners, a change is needed every two to three months. During the summer and winter, heat pumps and air handlers operate heavily – this frequent use can increase the need for filter changes.

If you have multiple cats or dogs or smoke, you may need a monthly change. Check your air handler’s filter to see if it has become clogged with contaminants. A clogged filter can stress your system, reduce its efficiency and cost more to operate.

Douglas Cooling & Heating: Birmingham Experts in Heat Pumps

Douglas Cooling & Heating helps Birmingham, AL homeowners keep their heat pumps and air handlers in top shape for optimal comfort. Schedule routine maintenance today with our skilled technicians for improved system performance – contact us now! Interested in an upgrade for better efficiency and lower utility bills? We offer free estimates and finance options.

Comments are closed.