The difference between fan coil and air handling unit(AHU)

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In the following article of Damapouya magazine, we intend to demonstrate difference between fan coil and air handling unit(AHU). In any construction project, whether residential, commercial or office block, a proper air conditioning system is needed to bring the ambient temperature to the user’s desired level and provide comfort and well-being for them. different types of air conditioning systems are designed and manufactured due to the wide demand for this equipment. Each of these systems has its own function, but ultimately they are produced and supplied for ambient air conditioning. Applicants for these devices are looking for high efficiency and also economical equipment. A series of air conditioning and refrigeration systems are widely used in construction equipment such as fan coils and air handling units, which are highly used in building facilities due to the advantages of each. Different models of air conditioning systems are designed and manufactured by many companies. In the following, we will discuss about the difference between a fan coil and an air handling unit.

5 differences between fan coil and air handling unit

In order to determine the difference between a fan coil and an air handling unit, first we shall explain how each device works and name the components of them. As mentioned, air conditioning systems are widely used and for this purpose, different manufacturers and companies are active and compete with each other in producing different types of fan coil and air handling unit. As a result, it becomes difficult and confusing to buy an accurate and suitable system at an economical price. In this regard, Damapouya magazine has prepared an article entitled “The cheapest fan coil”, which it is recommended in order to, get infirmed with the best-selling brands in this industry, so that you can purchase easier and, of course, more efficient system. One of the most famous brands in this market is Green fan coil company that produces and distributes millions of air conditioning systems annually. In the following, we will first compare the operation of the fan and air handling unit (AHU).

The air handling unit is used to provide air conditioning and humidity in several spaces. This device is designed and produced in three models, including apartment, industrial and hygienic models. These models are available in different aeration capacities. Air conditioners have hot and cold capabilities so they can be used in four seasons. The various components of the air conditioner are water coil, humidifier, air filter, supply chamber and air production. It also consists of ducts that are used to guide the air created. The overall performance of the device depends on the coordination of its various components, so that this coordination leads to the creation of air conditioning. Air conditioning equipment receives hot water from the package or central heating plant room and takes cold water to provide cooling from the chiller. When the device is turned on and the water flow inside the circuit and reaches the coils, the blower fan starts working and with the smoke on the coils, it distributes the available air through the channels and transfers it to the desired space. This refrigeration device is produced in a wide variety and it is used in various environments of factories, apartments, warehouses and industrial areas.

The difference between a fan coil and an air handling unit (AHU) will clarify according to the function of each system. As you can guess from the name of the fan coil, this device has two separate main parts. The fan coil also has dual function capability and it’s able to supply hot and cool air. The basis of this air conditioning system is that it performs the cooling function by connecting to the chiller, and by connecting to the central heating plant room and the package, fan coil performs the heating function. The water inside the coil rotates by turning on the device and the blower fan directs the air created on the coils through the installed valves to the interior of the room and distributes it. Fan coils have different types in terms of installation location. These types are wall mounted, floor, duct, ceiling and cassette installation location.

As mentioned, the two most widely used devices in air conditioning systems are fan coils and air handling unit that we introduced the operation and components of each. The similarities of these two systems are their function’s basis. They also have the same power supply; This means that both are connected to the chiller in cooling and to the central heating plant room or package in heating performance. Another similarity is that water is one of their main components. Now we are going to point out the most important difference between a fan coil and an air handling unit.

  • Ducting and installation position is one of the most important differences between a fan coil and an air handling unit. The air conditioner is located outside the building and it directs and distributes the required air through ducting to different parts of the building. While the fan coils -according to their model- are installed independently in different parts of the building and supply the required water to the circuit through piping. Therefore, in order to compare these two devices, it is necessary to consider that there are issues regarding the installation of fan coils, such as the cost of plumbing, as well as the occupation of space that must be considered.

On the other hand, the structure and system of the air handling unit is more complex and it possess more components than the fan coil.

  • Aeration capacity is another difference between a fan coil and an air handling unit (AHU); The air handling unit has higher capacity than the fan coil, and as a result, it is used in higher volumes.
  • In addition to the points above, the way of distribution and volume of air produced by the device is another difference between the fan coil and the air handling unit. Each fan coil device independently provides the required air to the environment, but the air handling unit directs the air created through different channels to the different parts of the space uniformly and equally. The ability to adjust the required temperature and humidity is another advantage of AHU, which is supplied from outside the building. However, in a place where there is a serious need for fresh air and also for humidity adjustment, it is recommended to use an air handling unit. It goes without saying that often in large projects, these two air conditioning systems are installed and implemented in combination.
  • Air handling unit is made in larger dimensions and more volume compared to fan coil, and as a result, it is installed and implemented outside the building. Due to the fact that fan coils are installed indoors they make more noise during operation. The air handling unit use the fresh air of the outside in order to transfer the temperature created by the water inside the coils. But fan coils use indoor air to circulate air.
  • Another difference between a fan coil and an air handling unit is the power of filtration and the type of filters applied in each system. Mainly AHU has stronger and more powerful filters than fan coils. The filters used in fan coils are usually simpler and more rudimentary.


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