Air handlers are crucial components in HVAC systems, especially in terms of enhancing overall system efficiency and comfort in your home. Understanding their function and the considerations for upgrading can significantly impact your HVAC system's effectiveness and your home's comfort levels.

What is an Air Handler?

An air handler, or air handling unit (AHU), is responsible for circulating air throughout your HVAC system. Typically located inside the home, it consists of components such as filters, coils, and blowers that manage airflow and temperature regulation.

Key Functions of Air Handlers

  • Air Distribution: The air handler ensures that heated or cooled air is distributed throughout your home. Properly maintained, it can significantly enhance comfort by providing consistent indoor temperatures and airflow.
  • Filtration: Air handlers contain filters that trap dust, pollen, and other airborne particles. This not only improves air quality but also protects the system’s components from dirt accumulation that can reduce efficiency.
  • Humidity Control: In systems with integrated humidifiers or dehumidifiers, the air handler plays a vital role in maintaining the desired humidity levels within the home.

Considerations for Upgrading Air Handlers

  1. Energy Efficiency: Newer models of air handlers are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Features like variable speed fans can significantly reduce electricity usage by adjusting the airflow to meet real-time needs without running at full power constantly.

  2. Compatibility: When upgrading your air handler, ensure it is compatible with the rest of your HVAC system, especially the outdoor unit in split systems. Mismatched components can lead to reduced efficiency and increased wear and tear.

  3. Advanced Features: Modern air handlers include features such as antimicrobial filters or UV lights that can improve the air quality in your home. Consider these options if indoor air quality is a priority for you.

  4. Noise Reduction: Newer air handlers are often designed to operate more quietly than older models. If noise is a concern, look for units that emphasize quiet operation.

Professional Installation and Maintenance

While upgrading your air handler can provide numerous benefits:

  • Installation: Proper installation by a professional is crucial to ensure that the unit operates efficiently and effectively.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including filter changes and inspections, is vital to maintain efficiency and extend the life of the unit.


The air handler is a central component of your HVAC system, playing a key role in maintaining efficiency and comfort in your Philadelphia home. When considering an upgrade, factor in energy efficiency, system compatibility, advanced features, and noise levels to make an informed choice. Consulting with HVAC professionals, like those at McCorry Comfort, can help you select and install an air handler that best meets your needs and enhances the overall performance of your HVAC system.