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Atlanta Air Conditioning Guide: Retrofitting Air Handlers for New Air Conditioning Units

A typical Atlanta air conditioning system consists of an outdoor condenser unit and an indoor air handler unit, which combine to cool and distribute air through your home. But, in cases where you already have a functional air handler, such as part of a heating system, you may not need to install a totally new one when installing air conditioning. Instead, the existing air handler can often be retrofitted to work with the new air conditioning unit.


The typical way to retrofit an air handler to an AC unit is to mount an evaporator coil on top of the existing furnace. The evaporator coil is the component of an AC system which is responsible for cooling and dehumidifying the ambient air – the very process that we think of when we imagine air conditioning.

The problem with simply installing a new evaporator coil and using the existing ductwork and blower fan is that the evaporator coil can be the wrong size, which can lead to performance problems and cause the refrigerant in the coil to freeze. If the evaporator coil is too large for the capacity of the blower fan, the air handler can’t move enough air across the evaporator coil to prevent the freezing, which will halt operation of the air conditioner altogether.


An existing air handler can be retrofitted to accommodate a newer air conditioning unit, as long as the challenges of the size of the evaporator coil are taken into account.

In addition to making sure the coil is not too large in relation to the existing air handler, the velocity of the blower has to be matched to the needs of the coil. A qualified Atlanta air conditioning professional can handle those problems for you during installation, or, in the case that you purchased a home with a retrofit installation, examine an existing system for you to make sure everything is installed properly.

Call Cool Air Mechanical today if you have any questions about Atlanta air conditioning installation!

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