Understanding Your HVAC System – Air Handler FAQs

by | Mar 1, 2023

What is an air handler and what does it do?

The air handler is one of the main components of your HVAC system and circulates air throughout the rest of the system. It consists of a blower, heating and cooling coil, and filter rack. In general, air handlers are isolated from the rest of the home in a basement, attic, or storage closet. 


An air handler works by filtering the outside air and adjusting it to the appropriate temperature. Then, it distributes the heated or cooled air through the ductwork and into the rest of the home. Maintaining this important piece of your HVAC system is crucial to maintaining clean comfort in your home.


Your air handler is equally important for indoor air quality. That’s because it removes dust particles from the air before the dust can be recirculated into your home. The better you understand how it works, the more confident you will be running your HVAC system at a comfortable temperature all year round!


When should air handlers be replaced and when can they be repaired?

When you properly maintain your HVAC system and its parts, it should last 10 to 15 years. Due to recent supply chain increases, industry repair prices have seen some increases, too. The average cost to repair an air handler is $350, so it’s good to know which easy fixes you can attempt at home. At Team Air-zona, we’ve assembled a list of our favorite troubleshooting tips to help you save on repairs now and protect against needing a replacement later.  


Understanding easy fixes for air handler issues

1. The air handler itself won’t turn on.

This could be as simple as the air filter being dirty or clogged. If this is the case, change or clean your air filter, clear the unit of dust, and turn it back on. If the unit still won’t run, it could be an issue with connectivity or power. Locate your fuse box and reset the air handler.


2. The blower won’t turn on.

If the blower motor doesn’t seem to be working, identify if the air handler is still connected to the thermostat. Change the thermostat to the AUTO or ON setting and adjust the temperature a few degrees to see if the system kicks in. 


If you suspect the blower motor is the issue, we recommend cleaning it. Turn the air handler off at the fuse box and remove its cover. Then, use canned air or a non-microfiber cloth to clean away any dust or debris.


3. You notice air is leaking.

If you can feel air blowing out of the air handler, it may be leaking. It’s important to address such a leak as soon as possible to prevent an increase in your utility bills. A leak indicates that the air in your home isn’t being effectively treated by your HVAC system. Identify where the the leak is happening and cover it with aluminum tape or duct sealant. 


4. You hear strange noises.

If your air handler is making a banging sound or clanking noise, there may be a part that has become broken or loose inside. Turn off your HVAC system to identify the noise. Keep in mind that with time and use, parts will need lubrication or tightening, but odd noises should not be ignored. 


Let Team Air-zona help you save on HVAC maintenance

If your air handler is still not working properly, don’t put off HVAC maintenance and repair. An air handler that is making noise, leaking, clogged, or otherwise not working properly will not filter or circulate the air effectively. When any component of your HVAC system is not working effectively, the entire system is forced to work harder to compensate but without the intended results. 


With Team Air-zona, you can expect full support as we walk you through every aspect of troubleshooting problems with your HVAC system. Full expert HVAC service includes considering the features and prices that best suit your needs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you save so you can breathe easy!

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