An air handler (also known as an air handling unit or AHU) is the backbone of any commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, responsible for evenly distributing conditioned air throughout the facility’s interior space. The basic operation of an AHU is to draw untreated air into the HVAC system through an intake vent, filter it, and then push the treated air into ducts that carry it to a space where it will be heated or cooled. From there, the air is then released through output vents that are connected to ductwork, and then circulated throughout the building.
The right air handler can do wonders for any commercial HVAC system. For starters, a well-functioning AHU will help ensure appropriate air temperature and airflow throughout the interior of your facility. An air handler can also improve the indoor air quality in your building (lowering levels of airborne pollutants), maximize your HVAC system’s energy efficiency, decrease your monthly utility bills, and reduce the noise associated with your HVAC operation.
Air handlers may vary in size, shape, capacity and complexity, depending on a building’s particular needs. For a commercial operation, you can choose from:
Single speed air handlers, which run continually at a single, fixed fan speed, and are powered by A/C (alternating current). This is a common air conditioning method for homes and small commercial buildings. The system is either 100% on or 100% off.
Variable speed air handlers, which vary their output depending on the demands of your heating and cooling system, and run off D/C (direct current). By operating at different speeds, variable speed AHUs are generally more effective at circulating air throughout an indoor space compared to single speed AHUs, and the process is generally much quieter.
Makeup air units (MAUs), which only condition air from outside of the facility, rather than recirculate air from the inside. MAUs tend to be solidly-built and are designed to deal with large volumes of air and condition a sizable indoor airspace.
Factory-packaged AHUs, which typically contain the coils, filters, fans and dampers, all in a single casing. They may also contain their own air conditioning compressors, electric heating coils, heat pump coils, or gas burners. Packaged AHUs are common with smaller commercial establishments and single-zone buildings. They arrive fully- or mostly-assembled, and are generally far less expensive than custom or field-erected AHUs.
Modular AHUs are a good option for those who want some flexibility, but can’t afford a totally custom AHU. Users are able to choose individual components, which are each housed in modules that are all compatible. Various options in terms of fans, filters, coils, casings and accessories can be selected. Users can mix and match different combinations of modules, to meet their particular air processing requirements. The modules are shipped individually from the factory and assembled at the user’s facility.
Custom-designed AHUs are generally constructed on-site at the user’s facility. They are designed and built to meet the client’s particular requirements in terms of configuration, construction materials, size, capacity, coil types (chilled water, hot water, direct expansion or steam), and filtration choices. At Legacy Mechanical, we can customize your air handler to your facility’s specific needs, addressing a variety of power options, filters and controls. A custom air handler is usually the most costly option, but generally has the longest lifespan and highest efficiency.
Not sure what type of air handler is right for your operation? Give Legacy Mechanical a call! We offer a wide variety of commercial-grade air handlers at competitive rates. Whether you’re in need of an AHU for your industrial operation, warehouse, medical facility, office space, data center, retail store, hotel or educational institution, we can help you select the ideal air handler that will meet your exact specifications.
With over 80 years of combined experience in the HVAC industry, the leadership team here at Legacy Mechanical remains one of the most trusted and recommended commercial HVAC companies in the Atlanta metro area. No matter what comfort solutions you are looking for, our very professional and highly-skilled technicians are prepared to assist you every step of the way.
If you are in need of an air handler for your business, give us a call today at 770-432-1171 to set up a meeting with one of our customer service representatives. Our representative will be happy to answer any questions you may have about air handlers, explain your options to you, and provide you with a free estimate. We look forward to partnering with you to design and install an AHU for your facility that is not only efficient and reliable, but also improves your indoor air quality.