High Efficiency and High Airflow
The best cabin air filter for use when driving in all climates is going to be a filter that offers exceptional filtering ability (often referred to as efficiency) while not being so obstructive that it dramatically impedes the flow of air through the car’s climate control system. Today’s vehicles feature sensor-driven climate control systems that are designed to keep drivers and passengers comfortable while traveling. Due to the advanced functionality of these systems, modern vehicles require a cabin air filter that offers both high efficiency plus high airflow. There is a delicate balance there we all need to be aware of here and as a professional installer, it’s up to you to know what filter will best suit your customers based on your regional location and the vehicles they’re driving.
We live in an area of the world that features many different climates on one continent. The southern US is very hot and wet for most of the year. Meanwhile, the west is very hot and dry for most of the year. Yet in other places like the Pacific Northwest, or the Northeast Coast drivers have every form of weather thrown at them in the course of 12 months. With all of these variations possible, one type of cabin air filter isn’t enough to cover the multitude of conditions that North American roads can throw at drivers.
Most of us have gotten used to the following two types of cabin air filters:
- Particulate, electrostatic media cabin air filters
- Carbon-impregnated media cabin air filters
The main difference between these two types of cabin air filters is that one features a carbon media layer, which is designed to neutralize odors as air passes through the filter. It’s that carbon media layer that makes the latter feel like a much more robust, higher quality filter than a plain particulate media filter. All that extra heft can be deceiving though. Just because the filter is heavier, doesn’t mean it’s built any better. All it’s really going to do better is help to neutralize some of the foul odors coming into the cabin from outside. And, unlike what some people believe, the carbon media filter will do nothing to help with odors that originate from within the cabin. Such as that bottle of milk that your 2-year-old dumped out on the back seat when you weren’t looking.
Drivers with Respiratory Allergies
The times are changing, and we now have cabin air filtration options that didn’t exist just a few years ago. Particulate and carbon media filters are still the main players, but there are now options marketed towards people with severe allergies. These new filters position themselves alongside the HEPA moniker in hopes that the highly recognizable name will spur filter sales among those with respiratory allergies to dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants. In case you don’t know, the acronym HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. The full name is self-explanatory. The media that these filters are made of is highly efficient at stopping particles of a certain size, measured in microns, from passing through. In the case of HEPA filters, the efficiency rating is 99.97% at a micron size of 0.3. And therein lies the big problem with HEPA filter use in automotive climate control systems. Everyone would absolutely love to have a filter that can stop every harmful airborne contaminant from entering the cabin of their vehicle. HEPA filters can come pretty close to achieving this, but at a hefty performance cost. Right out of the box, the filters are simply too restrictive for practical use in any car’s climate control system. To see evidence of consumer discontent with this performance trade-off, just scan the atrocious reviews of Bosch’s HEPA certified cabin air filters on Amazon. Many users report a ventilation airflow drop of as much as 70%! – which doesn’t bode well for your car’s ability to defrost/defog the windshield or cool the car when the air conditioning is in use.
In many cases the filter is so obstructive that they’ve actually been reportedly sucked into the HVAC system, damaging the blower fan and costing drivers hundreds of dollars in repairs.
HEPA filters for the vehicle cabin sound great in theory but aren’t actually practical. Where does that leave us? There are a couple of other options worthy of mention.
The ECO and Wallet-Friendly Option But is the Stench Worth it?
The first is a cabin air filter that you never have to replace. That’s right, you never have to replace it. Just clean it every once in a while, and make sure the media is coated with a specialized oily substance, which is provided by the filter maker. For obvious reasons, lifetime cabin air filters are not a great option for the professional installer. It’s more of a DIY product that’s sold as an incredibly eco-friendly and wallet-friendly option to the disposable filters that most drivers are used to. The reviews for the filtering performance of these lifetime cabin air filters are mostly positive, but there is one major caveat. Drivers commonly report that they smell toxic and the terrible rubbery smell doesn’t always go away. This is due in part to the rubber molding that is used, as well as the coating that is applied to the media.
I don’t know about you guys, but for me, that defeats the purpose of using a premium cabin air filter. It’s great that the filter works well, but if it stinks up the cabin and makes my driving experience uncomfortable… It’s going to be a big no from me.
The Smart Choice for Comfort and Performance in 2019
There is a smarter cabin air filter solution coming to drivers in 2019 and it’s one that professional installers must-have. ECOGARD® has developed an all-new high-performance cabin air filter, which offers exceptional efficiency while maintaining high airflow through the vehicle’s climate control system. The ECOGARD HE+ high-efficiency cabin air filter features a special green, particulate, electrostatic media which is engineered to effectively trap particles as small as 0.3 microns. With this new filter, ECOGARD has chosen to forego the carbon media layer that is usually found within the two electrostatic layers. Instead, ECOGARD Fresh Sense™ technology adds another layer of particulate, which has been sodium bicarbonate treated to effectively neutralize any airborne odors as air passes through the filter.
With ECOGARD HE+ you get the best of both worlds – maximum driving comfort and the best possible performance out of the vehicle’s climate control system. A winning combination for installers who strive for the highest level of customer satisfaction and drivers who want the most comfortable driving experience possible.