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The Difference Between a Condenser and an Air Handler


Do you know the differences between each of your HVAC units parts? Have you ever wondered what they are? In this month’s blog post, we’ll be answering what the difference is  between two main parts in your air HVAC unit: the condenser and the air handler. Both parts are crucial to your HVAC units and their ability to transport air up and down your vents, but they both vary. For example, a condenser turns gas into liquid and an air handler focuses solely on air regulation. We’ll explain more about them below. Now, let’s get into the blog post! 

What Is a Condenser?

A condenser is an outside part of the HVAC unit that, as mentioned above, turns gas into liquid. It releases and collects heat during the process it changes gas into liquid. It produces a considerable amount of heat as it cools the gas. Condensers are not only part of your HVAC unit, specifically your air conditioner, but they are part of refrigerators and steam power plants. In air conditioners, condensers cool heated up refrigerant vapor and use compressors to help move the refrigerant forward. A fan is then used to blow heat to cool the refrigerant vapor into a liquid. Tubing is then used to transport the air in and out of the building. While a condenser’s function may seem simple, it is extremely vital to your HVAC unit. Without a condenser, your HVAC unit wouldn’t be able to run smoothly.   

An HVAC Condenser

What is an Air Handler?

An air handler’s sole purpose is to regulate the air in your furnace. Some parts in your air handler are filters, a motor, an evaporator coil, humidifier, and more. They are all interior parts. A filter is used to keep air clean and assure the quality of it. A motor is used to power the rest of the components in the air handler. An evaporator absorbs heat from inside your house and reuses it. A humidifier makes sure the humidity in the air is balanced. The air handler is not just one part of your furnace but a collective name for all the parts that come together to do the same job but in different segments. Every part is crucial to your HVAC unit. 

An Air Handler

What Is the Difference Between Them?

The difference between an air handler and a condenser is their functions. As mentioned above, an air handler regulates air and a condenser turns gas into liquid. They have their similarities such as they both work together and if one fails then the other is affected because of it. However, their differences are numerous. For example, a condenser is an external piece of an HVAC unit. An air handler is a bit more complicated in that it is not just one piece of equipment but instead several. An air handler is also inside of the HVAC unit instead of outside of it. The difference between an air handler and condenser does not make one more important than the other, however. They are both necessary and when in doubt just remember; you need both a condenser and an air handler for your HVAC unit to work properly.


We hope we answered your questions in this month’s blog post. The different parts of an HVAC unit can be confusing even for us. If you have any more questions about the difference between a condenser and an air handler, or just HVAC questions in general, leave them in the comments below! If your HVAC unit needs service and you live in Jefferson County or the surrounding areas, our number is 636-475-9384. We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this time. 

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