What is an Air Handling Unit

An air handling unit, sometimes called an air handler, is a piece of equipment that is used to condition and circulate air as a component of a heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. This handler is usually a large metal box that contains a blower, heating and cooling elements, filter chambers, sound attenuators and dampers. The air handler connects to ductwork that in turn, distributes the conditioned (and heated or cooled) air throughout the building before returning it to the AHU. There are some units that discharge and admit air directly to and from the building, without the need for ductwork.

There are three basic types of an air handling unit. When trying to decide on the purchase of custom air products, Houston residents should choose from the following:

  • Terminal units: Include only an air filter, coil and blower. Simple terminal units are often called fan coil units or blower coils.
  • Makeup air units: Larger air handler that conditions 100% outside air, rather than recirculated air.
  • Rooftop units: Air handler designed for outdoor use and are positioned on roofs

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