Air Handler VS Gas Furnace

Understanding the Difference Between an Air Handler and a Gas Furnace in Your HVAC System

Bill Acosta

11/19/20232 min read

When it comes to heating and cooling your home, two crucial components play distinct roles in keeping you comfortable: the air handler and the gas furnace. Understanding their differences is key to optimizing your HVAC system's performance.

The Air Handler: Circulating Comfort

An air handler is a vital part of systems paired with heat pumps or air conditioners. Its primary function is to circulate conditioned air throughout your home. As the name suggests, it handles the air, ensuring a consistent and comfortable temperature in every room.

Energy Source: Electricity

Unlike gas furnaces, air handlers rely on electricity to power the fan and motor that distribute air. This makes them a preferred choice for areas where gas may not be readily available or for homeowners aiming for energy-efficient solutions.

Versatility: Year-Round Comfort

One notable advantage of air handlers is their versatility. They work seamlessly with heat pumps, providing both cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. This dual functionality contributes to year-round comfort.

The Gas Furnace: Generating Warmth

In contrast, a gas furnace generates heat by burning natural gas. This combustion process produces warm air, which is then circulated through the ductwork to heat your home.

Energy Source: Natural Gas

Gas furnaces are known for their efficiency in converting fuel into heat. Natural gas, a commonly available and cost-effective energy source, powers these furnaces, making them a popular choice for heating in colder climates.

Focused Heating: Winter Warmth

although Gas furnaces have always excelled in providing powerful and concentrated heat, making them ideal for cold winter months, cold climate heat pumps have come to change the game.

Cold climate heat pumps are designed to operate efficiently in cold weather. Unlike traditional heat pumps that may struggle in low temperatures, these systems use advanced technology, such as variable-speed compressors and special refrigerants.

At low temperatures, cold climate heat pumps extract heat from the outdoor air and transfer it inside. The refrigerant in the system plays a crucial role. Even in cold conditions, it absorbs heat from the outdoor air and carries it inside, where it releases the heat to warm the indoor space.

Variable-speed compressors allow the system to adjust its capacity based on the temperature and heating needs. This flexibility enables the heat pump to maintain efficiency even in extremely cold climates. Additionally, some models incorporate defrost cycles to prevent ice buildup on the outdoor unit, ensuring continuous operation in winter conditions.

Choosing the Right Fit for Your Home

When deciding between an air handler and a gas furnace, there are a couple of options to consider. Not all homes are the same and we know that it can get a little tricky. lucky for you! Pacific Coast Comforts is here to answer any questions.

Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation