Difference Between Condensers And Air Handlers

Air Handlers

Most air conditioners have two parts - the outdoor unit and the indoor unit. The indoor unit is also called the air handler. The air handler contains the coils and the blower. It is single-handedly responsible to circulate cool air through the rooms with the blower. At a glance the air handler would look almost like a furnace. They can run with either an air conditioner or a heat pump. They have the indoor coil through which the refrigerant flows. The hot room air is made to pass through these coils. The heat is absorbed by the refrigerant to cool the air which is again recirculated in the rooms through the blower to make them cool.

Types of Air Handlers

Air handlers are of various types. The single speed air handler has fan motor has one single speed limit. There are air handlers with multiple speeds of blower motor. These offer more precise and optimum cooling. The more speed your air handler offers, the more effective your air circulation will be. This can also be helpful to regulate humidity levels, improve your indoor air quality, and achieve a consistent temperature in your home. You can buy an insulated air handler for super quite operation. Hydronic air handlers are designed to work with boilers.

Air Condensers

In condenser the next part of the cooling cycle happens after refrigerant leaves the evaporator coil. The refrigerant soaks the heat of the room air and turns into vapour. The hot refrigerant gas with high pressure enters the compressor, where it is further compressed. The gas then reaches the condenser where it’s cooled giving out heat which is expelled through fan into the surrounding. Condensers are of various types- air-cooled condenser and water-cooled condenser.

Types of Water Cooled Condensers

Double Pipe Condenser: These systems comprise of pipes that are arranged horizontally to form a bank. Each of these pipes has another pipe inserted inside. A solution of water and ammonia is used in these for cooling. This mixture enters the system through the bottom and goes up through the inner pipe. The compressed refrigerant vapor is passed through the top part flowing downward. The vapor gets condensed by the ammonia mixture.

Double Tube Condenser: It is very similar to a double pipe condenser; the only difference is that instead of pipes these systems have tubes inserted in one another. The refrigerant flows through the annular space between the two tubes.

Shell and Coil Condenser: In this design of condenser, there is a copper coil present inside a steel shell. Water is circulated through this coil. The vaporous refrigerant is discharged by the compressor that passes over these coils. The cool water through the coil helps in condensing the vapor that happens outside of the coil. These systems are difficult to repair and maintain but cheaper to buy. If there is a leakage in the coil, it is a complex task to take it out of the steel shell. The head of the shell requires to be removed for this purpose.

Shell and Tube Condenser: It is same as shell and coil condenser. The only difference is that in this case a large number of tubes are located in a steel shell. This design provides lots of surface for condensation in a compact space.

There are two types of air cooled condenser. They are tube and fin condenser and plate condenser. In tube condensers, the hot refrigerant flows through the tubes which have fins outside. The fins are very useful in providing a greater heat transfer area. This is important to achieve a higher heat transfer rate. The air is blown over the tube by a fan which is used to cool the refrigerant inside. The plate condenser is shaped like metallic plates that transfer the heat from the fluid to the air.

Made for Each Other

In today’s air conditioners, air handler and the condenser are a matched set. If you want to replace one, you have to replace the other as well. They are designed to accommodate your air conditioner's specific BTU capacity.


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