What Happens if Your Furnace Filter is Installed Backwards?

If your furnace filter on your furnace is installed backward, it can lead to short cycling, lower efficiency, inconsistent temperatures, and eventually lead to damaging your furnace from overworking.

Below you’ll find out how to install an air filter for your furnace and what to do if you can’t find any arrows on your air filter.

Let’s get started.

What Happens if You Put a Furnace Filter Backwards?

Short Cycling

Short cycling is when your furnace turns off and on more than 8 times per hour.

An incorrectly placed filter can cause overheating which in turn causes your furnace to shut itself off and turn itself on and off more than it normally should.

Lower Efficiency

A backward air filter can lead to your furnace having to work harder, leading to lower efficiency and higher utility bills.

Air flowing around your bent or backward filter can lead to dust getting on the evaporator coil, blower motor and blower fan, causing your furnace to work harder than it needs to, using more energy in the process.

Inconsistent Temperatures

An improperly installed furnace filter will result in less air flow, and more inconsistent temperatures in your home.

The poor airflow can lead to your furnace shutting off and overheating, further adding to the problem.

Potential Damage to Your Furnace

Backward furnace filters can damage your furnace over time, lowering its life expectancy. With less airflow, it will have a harder time running and put more strain on your HVAC system.

How to Put Your Furnace Filter in the Proper Direction

Most air filters are designed to only go in one way.

If you feel that you’re forcing your air filter into your furnace, then you’re most likely putting it in the wrong direction.

To put your air filter in properly, follow the arrows that are printed on the side of the furnace filter.

The arrows identify the direction of the air that will flow through your ductwork.

Ensure it matches your HVAC system and you’ll never have to worry about installing your furnace filter backward.

What to Do If Your Filter Doesn’t Have Arrows

If your furnace filter does not have arrows, check on the corners of the sides to see if there are any arrows you missed.

If you didn’t find any arrows, then install your furnace filter with the thinner side towards the blower compartment.

If one side is lighter than the other, it should also face toward your furnace, or air handler.

Understanding Your Furnace Filter

Both your furnace or HVAC system will require a filter.

The fibers in fiberglass filters are designed to pass air through one way.

If it’s installed backward, it can lead to airflow restriction and cause your energy costs to increase.

A backward filter can also contribute to poor indoor air quality as your filter won’t be able to trap particles like it normally would.

Final Thoughts

While it may not seem like a big deal at first, over time, an improperly installed air filter can cause your furnace to overwork and overheat, causing damage over time.

It’s always best to double check the arrows on your air filter to ensure it’s installed properly.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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