What Happens if You Put an Air Filter Backwards?

If you place the filter backwards, the normally collective end of the device will not face the air supply. In fact, the filter will help keep debris in the air, causing it to clog and preventing the air from being cleaned properly when it reaches the lungs. The biggest damage that can result from a filter installed upside down is that it can damage your HVAC system and reduce its lifespan. An AC filter installed upside down will greatly slow down airflow, making it more difficult for your oven to operate. When efficiency decreases, the likelihood of a system failure, such as a refrigerant line leak or a failed compressor, increases.

So what happens if the air filter is improperly installed? Air filters are built to be installed in a certain direction. Installing the air filter backwards can restrict airflow through the air cleaner, cause the filter structure to fail, and allow dust, dirt, and other debris to pass through the filter and accumulate on the evaporator coil. If the evaporator coil becomes dirty, the system will not operate at optimal efficiency and could clog the condensate discharge line and cause the system to fail. Oven filters are designed to allow air to flow in one direction through the filter media. In this way, the filter does its job of preventing dust from accumulating on the blowers and motors inside the furnace.

While turning the air filter upside down from time to time isn't likely to cause damage to the system, it can cost you money in efficiency. 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. Therefore, when installing a filter backwards it would mean that your oven has to work harder to get the results you want. This will result in higher utility bills and may cause damage to your oven.

You won't feel the effects of this at first, but this inefficiency can build up and lead to furnace system breakage and further repairs. If you insert the filter backwards, the result is that the air will have more difficulty passing through the filter. If you install it backwards, your air handler will have to work harder to compensate for the lack of airflow. The airflow arrows should be printed on the side of the air cleaner to show how to install the filter. This is because the AC filter is designed in a way that allows for even distribution of dust within the filter material rather than just on the surface.

New homeowners or renters who don't understand their HVAC system well may have problems with this simple step of properly orienting their filter. When you install an oven filter upside down, there is no uniform distribution of dust throughout its 1-inch filter material. Therefore, be sure to look for arrows printed on its sides as they show you which direction it should be installed. Both sides may look similar but manufacturers make filters so that air flows in one direction efficiently through them. Having an inverted HVAC filter can cause system damage, mold problems, poor indoor air quality and other issues.

The filter cannot capture dust particles either when air moves through it in an incorrect direction. It basically boils down to filters being designed to be more porous when air first hits them (to trap larger particles) and less porous on their outlet side (to trap small dust particles).Also, if you look at where your filter is located, air comes from a side of your duct where there are no HVAC components. It all starts with understanding how your HVAC system works and making sure your air filters are properly installed and replaced regularly. These filters usually last around 3 months but they can still fail causing their frame to bend or even bend in their return box.

The filter prevents these contaminants from damaging your oven by collecting dust and debris before they reach critical HVAC components.