My air handler is supported by 2x4's which partially cover the filtered intake. I'd say there's 5-6" of blockage over the 21.5" filter size opening. Old air handler replaced after 12 years (due to outside coils leaking) was installed like this. I asked my contractor to fix this (twice) before installing a new unit, but they did not.

Is this going to negatively affect the performance or longevity of my split-system unit? Which parts will be affected? What is the proper method of supporting an air handler in a closet like this?

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The short answer is Yes it will negatively affect the performance of the unit - lower air flow. The supports block the air from going through the opening - like closing off a portion of it.

So what does this do - it reduces the air flow (like a clogged filter) and what are the effects of dirty or clogged filters ? That is your answer to how you will be impacted and what components will be impacted - BOTH the inside unit and outside unit - they need to work harder run longer.

How bad will the impact be ? Your air filter effectively becomes a 16 inch air filter and loses @ 5 inches times the width of the filter (the square inches of Area). You can ask the Manufacturer - email or call their tech support line and ask for details on your model air handler.

Aside from that answer - it does not really matter and here is why .. You asked the sales company / installer to fix that air handler mounting and they did not.

1: How did you pay them - credit card or on credit , cash , check ?

2: Call them back and have them fix it as you had requested, now is the time to do it - you simply wanted it done right and they did not follow your instructions - case in point would you accept it if they put a different unit in than the one you asked for (that was your instructions too) ?

If you paid with a credit card - if the company ho hums, drags feet or refuses to fix it .. dispute the charges and they will not get paid unless it is fixed.

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