What Happens When You Put the Air Filter in the Wrong Way?

Installing an air filter in the wrong direction can have serious consequences for your air conditioner or heating system. Not only will it waste energy, but it can also damage the system and reduce indoor air quality. The filter is designed to capture a large amount of debris, but only when installed correctly. If you place the filter backwards, the normally collective end of the device will not face the air supply, and instead of trapping dust particles, it will help keep them in the air.

When a filter is installed in the wrong direction, it can quickly become clogged with dust, pollen, dander and other particles. This can cause the air handler to work overtime to compensate for the loss of airflow, resulting in higher utility bills and potential damage to your system. Additionally, the filter will not be able to capture dust particles when air moves through it in the wrong direction. Air filters are built to be installed in a certain direction.

If you unintentionally install that filter upside down, the air will hit the fine-pore side first, before it has a chance to enter the filter. Instead of moving inside the filter and cleaning itself, the air will get stuck and then blow out the partially cleaned air on the other side. This will cause your air conditioner or oven to have a harder time drawing air through the filter, impairing its efficiency and potentially damaging system components. The most common problem you will have if you have an improperly installed filter is decreased efficiency. Since the filter is designed to be efficient when installed in one way only, installing it incorrectly will make your system inefficient.

One side of the filter is more porous to allow more air to flow freely. Air filters have direction arrows to indicate in which direction to install them on the return. Air passes through the air filter, which (depending on the type of air filter you have) traps dust, dirt, and other airborne contaminants. The biggest damage that can result from a filter installed upside down is that it can damage your HVAC system and reduce its lifespan. Therefore, be sure to look for the arrows that are printed on the sides of the filters, as they show you in which direction they are supposed to be installed. HVAC air filters come in different sizes; they can be 12 to 24 inches (30.48 to 60.96 cm) wide and 12 to 36 inches (30.48 to 91.44 cm) long. Check your filters every month and replace them when you can no longer see light coming through them.

For more tips on how to properly install your oven filter, contact your local HVAC specialist at Donald P. Even with proper air filter maintenance, you should have your HVAC system cleaned and serviced at least once a year.

Shana Gojcaj
Shana Gojcaj

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