Indoor Air Handling Unit

Understanding the Components of Your Indoor Air Handling Unit

Keeping cool during the blistering Las Vegas summers requires an operable air conditioner. While investing in annual maintenance is the best way to avoid being without your air conditioning at a critical time, it’s also important for homeowners to know a few things about these crucial systems. Today, we’ll discuss the components of your indoor air handling unit (AHU).

Blower Motor

The blower motor is the beating heart of your air conditioner. It’s what powers the entire system, blowing air through the ducts and creating suction to pull air in through the returns. In many air handling units, the blower motor is located near the bottom and is attached to a fan (sometimes called a squirrel cage fan for its circular shape). The blower motor turns the fan, producing airflow throughout the home.


The filter sits inside the air return and is responsible for preventing dirt, dust, hair, pet dander, and other contaminants from entering the air handling unit. Over time, these can collect on the blower motor and fan, where they can compromise operation. They can also collect within your ducts, reducing airflow and affecting your comfort. Your air filter should be changed regularly, although your frequency will vary based on a range of factors, including how often you use your air conditioning, the number of people and pets in your home, the type of filter, and more.


The coils are perhaps the most visible component of an air handling unit. They’re often made from copper, but sometimes they’re made out of aluminum. These are responsible for heating or cooling air that flows over them, providing you with warm or cool air depending on your thermostat setting. Coils should be cleaned regularly to prevent mold growth, remove oxidation, and keep them in good working condition. Eventually, coils may need to be replaced, but most will last as long as the system itself (10 to 15 years in most cases).


Depending on the model of your air conditioning unit, you may have a humidifier or dehumidifier as part of your air handling unit. With Las Vegas’ lack of humidity, this will usually be a humidifier. Most homes here don’t have a problem with too much humidity. Adding humidity improves your indoor air quality and helps make your home more comfortable.

The Importance of Regular Care

All of the components in your air handling unit are subject to wear and tear. Some, like the air filter, must be replaced regularly. Others may wear out over time, such as bearings in the blower motor. Cooling coils may develop pinhole leaks that allow refrigerant to escape, too. Regular maintenance from an experienced HVAC professional is important to keep these components in good working condition and to avoid expensive emergency repairs down the road.

Have you noticed that your air conditioner isn’t working as well as it once did? Hearing noises from your air handling unit? Contact the team at Elite to inspect and repair the problem.


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