What Can Happen If an Air Filter Is Backwards?

When you change the air filter in your HVAC system, you need to make sure to put it facing the correct direction. Most people are often surprised to learn this fact. They’re even more astounded regarding the impact a simple mistake like this can make.

As it turns out, it matters which way your air filter faces when you put it in your air conditioning system. Understanding how air filters function can shed some light as to why direction is so important when installing one.

What Can Happen If an Air Filter Is Backwards

What Is the Function of an HVAC Filter?

While your HVAC system helps cool and heat your home, it also serves another purpose. That purpose is to help keep the indoor air quality in your home at optimal levels.

The air filters you use can trap contaminants like dust, dirt, pet dander, pollen, mold, and more. As the air flows in, it goes through the filter to remove particulates. Over time, the air filter gets dirty and needs to be replaced. This is when you should replace it with a new, clean filter. However, the direction you place it in is critical for it to function as it should.

Why Does the Direction of the Air Filter Matter?

It would be silly to call your local HVAC company to have them change your filters because it is a task any homeowner can handle on their own. Some people don’t realize that they are putting their filters in backward.

When the air filter is backward, it can damage your HVAC system because it reduces airflow. Your system will run for longer periods to get to the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. The more it runs like this, the more stress it will have on the parts, creating greater wear and tear. You may also notice your energy bills are higher.

When looking at an air filter, each side may appear similar, but they are different. One of those sides is far more porous than the other one, allowing it to trap airborne particles while helping your system maintain proper airflow. A backward air filter is problematic for air quality and system functionality.

This is why you will see arrows printed on the sides of the air filters. These arrows are to indicate the direction the filters should be facing when properly installed. The arrows should always point toward your furnace or HVAC system.

What to Do If Your Air Filter Is Backwards

If you put your air filter in backward, there’s no need to panic. Simply take it out and turn it around so that the arrows are pointing toward your system rather than away from it.

Now that you know the difference, make sure you always place your new air filter in the correct direction. Don’t forget that you should also replace your air filters at the proper intervals since dirty filters can ruin indoor air quality and damage your HVAC system.


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About The Author

Hassan Zaka

I am an expert in accounting and possess diverse experience in technical writing. I have written for various industries on topics such as finance, business, and technology. My writing style is clear and simple, and I utilize infographics and diagrams to make my writing more engaging. I can be a valuable asset to any organization in need of technical writing services.

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