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Air Handler vs Furnace: 3 Differences


Air Handler vs Furnace

Selecting an energy-efficient heating and cooling system for your home is essential to both comfort and cost management. Air handlers and furnaces are two popular choices – understanding their key differences will enable you to make an informed decision explicitly tailored towards the needs of your residence.

If you’re looking for an HVAC service that specializes in residential installations in Siloam Springs (or one of the surrounding areas), you should reach out to a reputable service like Anderson Air.

What Is An Air Handler And How Does It Operate?

An air handler is an integral component of any HVAC system that distributes heated or cooled air throughout your home. 

It takes in outdoor air through return ducts and passes it over an AC coil for conditioning purposes before sending it through ductwork for circulation to rooms via supply ducts and vents – while simultaneously filtering to improve indoor air quality before sending it back out through supply ducts to rooms through supply vents and return vents.

What Is A Furnace And How Does It Operate?

A furnace is an energy-producing heating device that creates warmth by burning natural gas or propane as its source, with heat transferred via an exchanger into your ductwork system for distribution throughout your home. 

Electric furnaces may use electricity as power for their blower motor, which pushes heated air throughout their ductwork system; different models offer different energy efficiencies, costs, and environmental impacts that vary significantly among them.

Key Differences Between Air Handlers and Furnaces

Some of the key differences between these two units include:

Purpose and Climate Suitability

Air handlers are generally found in cooling systems in warmer regions, while furnaces tend to be used as part of heating systems in colder ones.

Energy Consumption

When considering energy consumption, furnaces often rely on natural gas or propane while air handlers rely on electricity – although natural gas and propane furnaces do offer energy efficiency as options as well.

Air handlers usually boast higher SEER ratings, signaling greater energy efficiency. 

Heating Output

Furnaces have higher heating capacities suitable for colder climates; in comparison, air handlers tend to rely more heavily on electric heating coils or heat pumps when providing warmth.

Are You Searching For An Air Handler And Furnace?

Before selecting between an air handler or furnace, several factors should be kept in mind:


When considering which HVAC device would best serve your region, keep climate change in mind. Colder environments could benefit more from installing a furnace, while air handlers work best in warmer environments.

Energy Efficiency

Compare energy efficiency ratings across models and brands in order to select the one with optimal energy savings for you.

Heating Output

Determine your heating output based on your home’s size and insulation levels, with furnaces typically having greater capacity than their counterparts in heating up your space.

Fuel Availability and Pricing

Learn about the availability and costs associated with natural gas, propane, and electricity services available to your area.

Budget and Preferences

When making decisions, keep both budgetary constraints and personal preferences in mind.

Consulting an HVAC specialist to select the ideal system is vital in meeting your unique requirements and priorities.


Before purchasing either an air handler or furnace, understanding their key differences is of utmost importance. 

Consider factors like energy efficiency, heating output, climate conditions, and fuel availability before making a choice that best meets your budget and individual requirements. 

Consultations with an HVAC specialist can ensure you find an HVAC solution tailored specifically to your home environment.

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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