At a time when so much media attention is being spent on the issue of increased safety and distracted drivers on the road, something as seemingly innocuous as a cabin air filter might seem of little concern for an over-the-road or vocational truck driver.
Cell phones or other smart devices are well-known distractions for drivers; they are voluntary choices made by the operator of the vehicle. However, a driver who is dealing with the symptoms of allergies can just as easily succumb to distractions caused by sneezing, blurry vision and headaches brought on by unclean air entering the cabin compartment.
As many as one in six Americans currently suffer from asthma or some type of allergy caused by airborne contaminants. These conditions can be magnified when traveling in a vehicle that does not have proper air circulation or appropriate filtration.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Whether it is simply incoming fresh air, or air entering the cabin during the use of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC), the environment inside the cabin of a heavy-duty vehicle is subjected to assault from exhaust gases, pollen, bacteria, dirt, dust and soot. Any one of these contaminants may cause an allergic or adverse reaction for the driver.
According to Gary Bilski, chief engineer for FRAM Filtration, many cabin air filters are only capable of filtering incoming air. Having the cabin on “recirculation” mode may retard some outside odors, he said, but a small percentage of recirculated air is actually outside air, which does not get filtered in this mode.
“Bottom line is the cabin air filter is going to filter outside air that you are going to breathe inside the cabin,” said Bilski.
The increased awareness of the needs of allergy-sensitive people living in the U.S. -- which is estimated at more than 40 million, according to the Filter Manufacturers Council -- may be the single biggest reason for cabin air filters receiving so much recent attention. When you look at the opportunity for a front line of defense for occupants of the cabin, a properly functioning cabin air filter can remove up to 98% of particles before anyone breathes them in.
Advanced Filtration Technology
Manufacturers are developing filtration technology designed specifically to for heavy-duty applications. For example, the new Luber-finer Extreme Clean HD Premium Cabin Air Filter provides the necessary filtration and barrier to the outside contaminants that can invade a cabin and affect its occupants.
Designed to remove sub-micron and micron-sized particles ranging in size from 5 to 100 microns, the filter can effectively filter many of contaminants, including dust and pollen. It combines carbon and Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. The carbon removes volatile organic compounds, such as gas fumes and hydrocarbons, while the baking soda removes a range of other offensive odors.
Whether it is preventing harmful contaminants from entering the cabin or cleansing the air of unwanted odors, cabin air filters can be the front line of defense for heavy truck operators.