When your home heating and cooling system consists of an air conditioner and gas furnace, there is an evaporator coil attached to the furnace that holds refrigerant, and the fan motor in the furnace is used to circulate air throughout the home. If you heat your home another way, such as a heat pump or radiant heating system, then an air handler is used.
Air handlers are also called fan coils, and they are essentially a combination of the coil from the evaporator coil and the fan motor from the furnace. When the air conditioner (or heat pump) is cooling your home during a hot Tallahassee summer day, it is doing so by moving heat energy outside. Air conditioners compress a gas called refrigerant. When compressed, refrigerant condenses down to a chilled liquid. This is pumped inside to the metal coil in the air handler. The fan motor turns on, and warm air from the home is pulled through the chilled coil. The refrigerant absorbs heat energy from the air, and the process repeats.
Air handlers with variable speed ECM fan motors are whisper quiet and provide better comfort control. UV lamps mounted near the coil also kill efficiency robbing mold that tends to grow as moisture condensates on the coil during heat energy transfer.
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