An air handling unit, sometimes called an air handler, is a piece of equipment that is used to condition and circulate air as a component of a heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. This handler is usually a large metal box that contains a blower, heating and cooling elements, filter chambers, sound attenuators and dampers. The air handler connects to ductwork that in turn, distributes the conditioned (and heated or cooled) air throughout the building before returning it to the AHU. There are some units that discharge and admit air directly to and from the building, without the need for ductwork.
There are three basic types of an air handling unit. When
trying to decide on the purchase of custom air products:
∑ Terminal units: Include only an air filter, coil and blower. Simple terminal units are often called fan coil units or blower coils.
∑ Makeup air units: Larger air handler that conditions 100% outside air, rather than recirculated air.
∑ Rooftop units: Air handler designed for outdoor use and is positioned on roofs.
Air handling units condition and distribute air within a building. They take fresh ambient air from outside, clean it, heat it or cool it, maybe humidify it and then force it through some ductwork around to the designed areas within a building. Most units will have an additional duct run to then pull the used dirty air out of the rooms, back to the AHU, where a fan will discharge it back to atmosphere. Some of this return air might be recirculated back into the fresh air supply to save energy. Otherwise, where that isnít possible, thermal energy can extracted and fed into the fresh air intake.
The advantages of Air Handling Units
One of the main advantages of installing an Air Handling Unit is a much more comfortable working environment for your staff and visitors. Whilst air conditioning units will either heat or cool the workspace depending on the outside temperature, an AHU will clean the air that is entering your building and even adjust the humidity.
With so many new buildings becoming increasingly better insulated to reduce heat escaping, and thus reduce energy costs, the air in the building is more likely to become stale and linger for longer. This stale air then becomes more of a danger to not only your staff and visitors but also to the fabric of the building itself, with the stale air potentially giving rise to mould growth and problems with condensation.
Mould is a dangerous contaminant as it has the potential to cause allergic reactions in staff and visitors, and damage to the fabric of the building on the inside and out, which could require professional removal or repair.
Things to consider when selecting an AHU
You will need to think carefully about your requirements before buying an AHU as buying a unit that has been designed specifically for a certain use will help to speed up the installation process and be more reliable.
The location of the AHU is another important factor to consider, as an AHU in a factory will have different requirements than in an office building, so an AHU that has been designed for a specific application will be able to perform much more efficiently.
The size of the AHU is also vital as you need to make sure that the unit can comfortably supply fresh air to the size of the room or workspace you have in mind.
The addition of an AHU can greatly maximise air quality standards in your office building or commercial premises. This will lead to a better and safer working environment for everyone by excluding harmful particles that could lead to ill health and damage to the interior surfaces of the building.
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