Does Furnace Filter Direction Really Matter?

Replacing the air filter is not a difficult task. All you need to do is remember that air flows from your ducts, through the filter and into the oven. To ensure optimal performance, you should always look for the arrows printed on the sides of the filters, as they indicate the direction in which the filters should be installed. The arrow should always point towards the furnace and away from the return duct that carries the air that needs to be heated or cooled. Forced-air ovens recirculate air throughout the home, blowing out cooled or heated air while drawing spent air for another cycle.

The direction of the HVAC filter is important because air flows through it in one direction. While its two sides look the same, one is more porous to allow air to enter. Otherwise, air cannot pass through and the unit itself has to work harder and harder, leading to higher energy consumption and loss of efficiency. If you are looking at an oven filter, look for the arrow that indicates the correct direction of the air flow. When a filter is installed in the wrong direction, it can quickly become clogged with dust, pollen, dander and other particles.

Each filter comes with an installation sheet, as well as arrows printed on the box that indicate how it should be positioned for optimal performance. To install it, simply align the arrows as shown and slide the filter frame into the reciprocating bracket on the front or side of your oven. This will allow the air to move freely, so that the filter can do its job properly. One tip is that, once you know the direction of the air flow, draw an arrow on the air filter with a permanent marker so that the next time you change it, you can match the arrows on the air filters. While replacing the filter is completely necessary, installing it incorrectly can lead to inefficient heating, furnace failure, and a high heating bill. Check your filters every month and replace them when you can no longer see light coming through them.

It basically boils down to the fact that the filter was designed to be more porous when air first hits it (to trap larger particles) and less porous on its outlet side (to trap small dust particles). When you install an oven filter upside down, there is no uniform distribution of dust throughout its 1-inch filter material. Improperly replacing a filter will reduce your oven's heating efficiency, reduce airflow, cause short cycles, increase your heating bill, and could even lead to equipment failure. To avoid this from happening, make sure to look for arrows printed on your filter's box or installation sheet that indicate how it should be positioned for optimal performance. Filters also come in different grades, allowing for even finer particle collection for people with seasonal allergies. Thin filters (1 inch thick) may need to be replaced once a month, while 5 and 6 inch thick filters can last up to a year.

Keep in mind that a filter only gets dirty when an oven is running; so if you check a filter in a vacation home that you only visit a couple of times a year, replacing it may not be a monthly task. For more tips on how to properly install your oven filter, contact your local HVAC specialist at Donald P. By installing a filter upside down, air will have more difficulty flowing through it and your air handler will have to work harder to compensate for this loss of airflow.