What Happens When You Install an Air Filter the Wrong Way?

Installing an air filter in the wrong direction can have serious consequences for your air conditioning 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 remove a large amount of unwanted debris, but only when installed in the correct direction. If you set the filter upside down, the normally collective end of the device will not face the air supply.

In effect, the filter will help keep debris 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 affects the air quality inside the living space. The filter also cannot capture dust particles when air moves through the filter in the wrong direction.

That unwanted debris ends up floating in the air of the house instead of being trapped by the filter. When an oven filter is installed incorrectly, not only does it reduce filtration efficiency, but it can also cause the air handler to work overtime to compensate for the loss of airflow. This can lead to a decline in indoor air quality and damage to the air conditioning or heating system. Most air filters have arrows printed on the sides that act as indicator marks pointing to the direction of air flow.

If you put it wrong, the HVAC system has to draw air through the less porous side of the air filter, which is obviously harder and presses it harder. This can impair the efficiency of the system and eventually damage its components. Forced-air ovens recirculate air throughout the house, expelling air (cooled or heated) while extracting spent air for another cycle. Air passes through an air filter that (depending on the type of air filter you have) traps dust, dirt and other contaminants from the air. The air flow always goes from the return grilles (usually one or three large rectangular grilles where air is sucked in) back to the oven to be heated again.

Also, if you look at where the filter is located, the air comes from the side of the duct where there is no HVAC component. New homeowners or tenants who are not familiar with the HVAC system may have problems with this simple step of correct filter orientation. If you unintentionally install that filter upside down, the air will hit the fine-pored side first, before it can enter the filter. Instead of moving inside the filter and being cleaned, the air will get stuck and then blow out partially clean air on the other side. Dirty ducts will cause you to have to replace air filters sooner than normal. Airborne pollutants that could damage internal components of an oven build up in house air.

Therefore, if you are using your air conditioning system, this layer of dust can significantly affect its performance and prevent airflow. Finally, when all is said and done, if you install an air filter in a wrong way, it will reduce efficiency of your unit and cost you extra money. Not many people may know that it really matters to orient an HVAC air filter correctly.

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