image of family indoors in front of a ductless indoor unit

Mini-split HVAC systems have two primary components. The components that are inside of the house are the ductless indoor air handlers. Outdoors, you will find the condenser unit. This system type is capable of circulating both cold and hot air, depending upon the heating or cooling needs of the household. With a mini-split, you can rest assured that your entire family can enjoy superior levels of comfort throughout the year.

It’s important to note that indoor air handlers have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the system and its operation. Air handlers that are more efficient will limit the amount of work that outside condensers have to do while ensuring that you get the level of home comfort you need and deserve.

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What Ductless Air Handlers Are

Air handlers are the indoor components in two-part, mini-split HVAC systems. Much like their name implies, they handle the air indoors. Conditioned air flows out of air handlers to keep the inside environment at a comfortable temperature throughout the seasons. Air handlers within central HVAC systems are frequently located in attics, basements, or dedicated closets. Conversely, you can find air handlers within ductless mini-split systems on the ceiling, floors, or wall in individual rooms or zones.

How Does A Mini-Split Heat Pump Air Handler Work?

Refrigerant, which is a substance that’s critical to your HVAC system’s cooling cycle, flows from the inside air handler to the outside condenser unit. An HVAC contractor installs the outside unit in the backyard or in a side yard area, right next to the home. This is where heat is released from the refrigerant. This release of heat cools the refrigerant down which then moves back to the indoor air handler via a system of copper coils. Then, a fan blows over the refrigerant-filled copper coils so that cold air can be released and distributed throughout the home. The cycle is reversed for heating.

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Different Ductless Indoor Air Handler Parts

Indoor handlers assist in the circulation and regulation of indoor air throughout the home. This component is comprised of several different parts that are all vital to the delivery of enhanced home comfort. These parts are:

The Evaporator Coil

The coil or evaporator coil is an inside coil that’s a key part of the system’s refrigeration cycle. Throughout the warm summer months, when the home requires cooled air, this coil will be cold. A cold coil can remove humidity and cool the air down as it passes over. The resulting conditioned air that then flows out of the unit is what you will feel throughout the living environment.

When you need warmer indoor temperatures, the coil will be warm. A warm coil can transfer heat to air passing over it. As such, the air leaving the indoor air handler will help heat the home up.

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A Blower Motor

The blower or blower motor has the job of circulating air throughout the building. A blower motor can come with three different speeds. There are single-speed blowers, variable-speed blowers, and multi-speed blowers.

  • Single-Speed Blowers: These motors are designed to function at a single, fixed speed. As such, the motor must cycle on and off in accordance with the thermostat or control system. In simple terms, it operates at full or 100 percent capacity when it’s turned on, and at zero capacity when you shut it off. There are no operating speeds in-between.
  • Multi-Speed Blowers: Multi-speed blowers are designed to operate at several different speeds. The speed at which this motor operates will be determined by the needs of those living in your home. As an example, this motor can work at full, 100 percent capacity if the thermostat or system control requires a high-demand mode. It also can function at lower speeds in situations of relatively low-stage demand. Even when operating at a lower speed, this blower motor can still have the ability to moderate indoor humidity, promote constant and reliable comfort, and function in an energy-efficient way when compared to single-stage systems.
  • Variable-Speed Blowers: With variable-speed blowers, the speed of the fan is determined by the specific requirements for indoor comfort for your household. An air handler with a variable-speed motor can control the distribution of cooled or heated air throughout your home with an impressive level of precision. Variable-speed motors offer superior comfort, greater overall efficiency, and quiet operation. As such, you’ll get incredible levels of comfort at an affordable cost.


Vibration Isolators

Blowers produce vibrations when in use that ultimately results as noise. This sound can be an annoying distraction to those within the home. This is why vibration isolators exist. Often made of thick, all-natural rubber, vibration isolators are able to dampen these unwanted sounds. As a result, it eliminates noise-causing vibration so that sound isn’t transferred to other structures. This can be a flexible section or a mounting bracket that’s inserted in-between the fan compartment and the remainder of the air handler.

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Air Filtration System

Nearly all heating and cooling systems have air filters. These trap allergens, dust, and other particulates to help keep the indoor air nice and clean. This allows you to keep your entire household healthy. Consequently, existing respiratory problems like asthma, allergies, and skin issues are not exacerbated by the HVAC system.

A window air conditioner will usually have a very rudimentary air filter that’s only capable of trapping large contaminants like actual pet fur. Conversely, ductless, and central HVAC systems tend to have improved filters that are capable of catching very tiny particulates. Depending upon which HVAC make and model you invest in, some ducltess systems have multi-stage filtration to promote the cleanest and healthiest indoor air possible.

Thermostat Or Control System

The control system is a critical part of any HVAC system. It allows you to regulate all aspects of the system’s performance. This includes air supply temperature, air quality, air flow rate, and indoor humidity levels, among other things. The control system could be very basic in that it only turns the system off or on. A control system can also be quite complex, such as in building automation, or the centralized automatic control of the HVAC system within the building.

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A Drain Pipe

Throughout the cooling process, the temperature is quite low such that the nearby air starts condensing into water. The resulting droplets of water collect on the cooling coil’s surface. They eventually fall from this coil and collect in an underlying drain pan. The drain pain water moves through the drain line, which removes water from the indoor air handling unit. This drain commonly extends to the outside compressor, where it is properly eliminated.

System Louvers

Louvers or fins are where conditioned air can pass through and enter the room. These help change the angle or direction of warm and cold air flow so that this air goes exactly where it’s needed. Louvers are available in two types: horizontal and vertical.

Vertical louvers control left and right airflow. These units are easy to use. If you want to change a louver’s direction, you can do this manually and with instant results. Horizontal louvers control up and down airflow. These louvers connect to a small-sized motor and are adjustable with a remote control. You can set horizontal louvers to a fixed position, or you can opt to use rotation mode. When your system is in rotation mode, your air handler can evenly distribute conditioned air all throughout the room.


Additional Indoor Air Handler Accessories

There may be a few additional accessories that your indoor air handler unit needs for functioning at top capacity. For instance, an electric heater might be one. An HVAC contractor will install this component in the air handler. It helps supplement the heating abilities of the condenser. It functions by heating up to the coils to add warmth to the conditioned air that passes over them.

Ultraviolet lighting is another such accessory. Having a UV light in the air handler helps neutralize airborne bacteria and viruses. This ensures that the air handler can do an adequate job of purifying the indoor air. Air filter boxes and a water safety cutout switch are other possible accessories.

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Mini-Split Heat Pump Indoor Unit Replacements And Repairs

If you’re getting minimal airflow or no airflow at all, your air handler could be faulty or malfunctioning. It might be that the blower motor has burned out. When this happens, the blower motor will need a replacement. If your indoor air handler is old, it may be necessary to replace the entire unit.

Be on the lookout for early warning signals of a damaged or broken air handler. Rattling and clanging noises may indicate that the air handler is loose or that the blower fan has become damaged. There are several reasons why your air handler might fail. If you find that your air handler isn’t working that way you expect it to, get in touch with a trusted, local HVAC technician.


Properly Maintaining Your Ductless Air Handler

Your air handler has a very significant impact on the overall energy efficiency of your home and your indoor air quality. As such, you should do all that you possibly can to ensure optimum functioning at all times. One sure way to accomplish this is by simply making sure that the indoor air handler stays clean. An air handler that does not receive maintenance and is dirty will circulate air that’s unhealthy. It will also diminish the efficiency of this component. In no time at all, your monthly utility bills will start to rise.

To keep your air handler clean, be sure to perform regular filter changes. You can also install a UV germicidal light or other air quality accessories. This will prevent mold and bacteria from growing within the air handler. It is also a good idea to have a qualified HVAC technician to perform annual tune-ups.

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Ductless Panels Add Heat And AC In An Addition To A Catasauqua PA Home


When you want to install an air handler, be sure to contact a reputable professional. A seasoned technician will make sure that you have the perfect air handler for your home so that you get the home comfort throughout all parts of the year.

Call R.F. Ohl To Learn More About Ductless Heating & Cooling Systems

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If you want to discover what a ductless HVAC system can do for you, call R.F. Ohl. Our NATE-certified technicians will help you determine the type of HVAC system that works best for your needs.

R.F. Ohl is one of the region’s leading full-service HVAC companies. We offer a wide range of HVAC services, from installations and tune-ups to repairs and consultations. We can help you find different approaches and solutions to ensure that our services meet your requirements and budget. Call us today for a free, in-home estimate.

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