Cabin Fever

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Bad news for those partial to hay fever and summer allergies – mother nature is desperately playing catch up after a particularly schizophrenic spring.

The fact that the coldest April experienced here in 24 years, has been followed by some surprisingly Mediterranean-like conditions in May and June means there has been a sudden surge in the pollen count.

So, while the rest of us rejoice at the sight of that unfamiliar big yellow thing hanging in the sky, those with summer allergies will unfortunately have to content with sneezing, serious coughing, headaches, and, in some cases, difficulties breathing.

While both pedestrians and motorists alike are exposed, the latter can at least take some action to avoid the full effect of these allergies. A cabin filter will substantially reduce allergic reactions by filtering the air and stopping external pollution. It allows air in the vehicle cabin to remain fresh and non-polluted.

Cabin filters are even more important for urban drivers who are also often exposed to pollution (exhaust gases and bacteria’s emitted from other vehicles), particularly in traffic jams. In fact, air quality inside the cabin is often worse than outside due to the infrequent replacement of air.

Sometime you may see two different filters for the same application (carbon vs particulate).  The carbon cabin air filters still remove dust, pollen and other contaminants from the air, but they also adsorb exhaust fumes and unpleasant odors prior to entering the passenger area of a vehicle.

The charcoal in the filters is treated with chemicals and heat to give it specific odor-control properties. Charcoal traps odor-causing gases by adsorption (not absorption), and therefore holds the gases on the surface of the charcoal treated media.

Because charcoal is porous, the filter has a very high capacity for trapping noxious gases.
The carbon filter may cost more than the filter without carbon and may not be necessary unless the vehicle is operated in an area that has slow moving traffic or strong odors.

Don’t underestimate the importance of these filters. A motorist with seasonal allergenic reactions is likely to be much less focused when driving. A sneeze attack at 55mph can cause an average of 30 yards of blind driving. So, educate yourself on your cars’ air filters. It’ll make your journey considerably more comfortable.

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It’s worth keeping in mind that your cabin air filter requires a yearly maintenance check to ensure it remains effective. If you currently don’t have one, now’s the time to make the investment. 

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