How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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What is the best location for a heat pump air handler (indoor unit)?

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The three factors for finding the best location for your heat pump air handler (indoor unit) are: 1) near center of home, 2) easy to access, and 3) not far from the condenser. Positioning the air handler near the center of the home means shorter duct runs, which makes it easier for the installer to balance the air flow to each room. One of the complaints we often get when inspecting larger homes in our area of Florida is that the master bedroom is warmer in the summer, and colder in the winter, than the rest of the house. This is typically because the air handler is located in the garage at the front of the home at one side, and the master bedroom is at the back of the home on the other side—at the end of a very long duct run.

    Putting the air handler in the attic is one way to position it near the center of the home, but an attic location shortens the life of the unit and loses energy efficiency during the hot summer months in Florida when attic temperatures can be 140º F or more. Plus, an air filter in the attic is difficult to access to change, and any condensate leak that overflows the catch pan under the the air handler will quickly ruin the ceilings below. We suggest putting it in a closet at a hallway or, if you must locate it in the garage, build a closet to enclose it there. Keeping the air handler reasonably close to the condenser (outdoor unit) also reduces energy loss. 

    Also see What is the best location for a heat pump condenser (outside unit)? 

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  To learn more about heat pump air handlers, see these other blog posts:

What is the requirement for a service receptacle outlet for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HACR) equipment?

What is the required clearance for access and working space in front of a furnace or air handler?

Will installing a special ultraviolet (UV) light in the air conditioning system kill mold? 

What is the small pipe sticking out of the eaves/soffit under the roof overhang? 

What are the Florida Building Code Energy Conservation Code requirements for installing an air handler in the attic? 

Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while? 

What is a return air plenum for a furnace or air conditioning system?

Why is there a wall switch next to the furnace or indoor unit of the air conditioner in the garage?

Is it acceptable for an air conditioning condensate drain line to terminate under the house?
 Why does the air conditioner condensate drain line need a trap in it?

Why is my air conditioner running constantly? 

What is a TX valve or TXV for an air conditioner or heat pump system?

My air conditioner won't come on after changing the air filter. What's wrong?

• When is an auxiliary drain pan required under an air conditioner indoor unit air handler? 

• What are the building code requirements for installing a heat pump air handler (indoor unit) in the attic? 

• Can a water heater and air conditioner use the same drain? 

• Can an air conditioning condensate drain pipe connect to a sink drain?

• How can I make my Florida air conditioner last longer? 

• What is the difference between an upflow, downflow, and horizontal air handler or furnace? 

• What is the difference between a fan coil unit (FCU) and an air handling unit (AHU)?

   Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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