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My 1960 Forced air heating system does not have a place for a filter do I need to add one

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I have a 1960 forced air designed heating system.  The ducts have been updated though the air return is in the hallway of this single level home and does not have a place to put in a air filter.  Should I look into making one fit or will it stop the natural flow of air back to the system?  There is a filter for the unit itself blowing into the house.


Thank you

asked in Heating System by return6 (140 points)
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1 Answer

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Hi Mary,

It depends how far is the air return register (the hallway one) from the actual furnace and where is the filter for the unit installed. Besides removing dust particles air filters protect furnace’s interior components / air passages from contamination. Having an air filter installed on a return register is extremely important if the heating system serves as an air handler for air conditioning coil. 

So, if the current filter sits just before air enters the furnace (before the blower) and if the hallways register is close to that area that second filter is not essential. Of course, it would give you extra filtration power and protect section of the air duct between the register and the furnace. Air filters are designed to allow air to pass freely so you don’t have to worry about blocking air flow for as long as they aren’t heavily contaminated.

If you current filter has been installed on an air supplying duct (after the blower) you can mount one in the hallways return register and eliminate the existing one. I have a similar system in my home; my filters are mounted in each of the two air return ports and there are no filers on the air supplying side.

Forced air distribution system with filters on return ports

answered by darekrudy (21,730 points)