By guest blogger
In the event you roll up your car windows to protect yourself against the pollution outside, take heed. The air inside our vehicles can pose a serious health concern, potentially raising one’s heart rate and blood pressure, and causing a heightened risk of driver drowsiness. The air inside vehicles is often of worse quality than the air outside because it draws in emissions from other vehicles and recirculates this air.
Just a few of the dangerous pollutants you may be exposed to daily if you drive in a busy area include nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and fine particles. These and other gases can cause dizziness, respiratory illness, and permanent changes to the lungs. However, you don’t simply have to accept this problem. Here are some simple ways in which you can improve the air quality inside your vehicle.
Researchers are currently conducting experiments to figure out ways to reduce the amount of toxins circulating within vehicles. Heejung Jung, a professor at UC Riverside’s Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering and the Center for Environmental Research and Technology, headed a team that tested 100 vehicles. The scientists found that one way to reduce the amount of particulate matter in vehicles is by closing windows and using the car’s recirculation setting. The one negative aspect of this method is that it increases the build-up of CO2 within a car, especially if there are various passengers. However, the researchers also discovered that opening the recirculation flap door at specific angles can reduce CO2 levels while also ensuring that particulate levels are low. This technique, known as fractional air recirculation, needs to be utilized by car manufacturers to provide an effective solution to drivers.
Choose a Low Fan Speed
Even if you don’t have a specially manufactured car, according to Jung and colleagues, you can improve the air quality in your vehicle on days in which roads are congested by choosing the recirculation node and choosing a higher fan speed. This will result in better ventilation than if you keep the airspeed low. According to Jung, if you keep the fan at low speed during recirculation, then CO2 levels inside your vehicle will build up quickly.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
Consumers can take a big step forward when it comes to reducing pollution levels by opting for hybrid vehicles and plug-in electric vehicles. Studies have shown that hybrids are actually 14 times better than battery electric vehicles at reducing CO2 emissions. Therefore, if you are looking to replace your current vehicle, make a wise choice by crunching some numbers instead of making your selection based on looks and performance alone.
Keep Your Car Clean
Use green products to keep your car clean, since harsh products can contain ingredients that irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Watch out for moisture issues from leaks or floods, as mold can grow in your car, triggering allergies and asthma. One way to ensure there are no leaks to be concerned about is to take your car for maintenance checks by the schedule recommended by the manufacturer. When you do take your car for a check, ask the mechanic to check your cabin air filter. The latter needs to be replaced every 15,000 miles or so to work efficiently.
A good sign that your filter needs to be replaced is if your interiors develop a musty smell or if you notice reduced air circulation when you turn the air conditioning unit on. To keep your interiors clean, use a vacuum for the flooring and mats, wipe down doors and the dashboard with a clean, damp cloth, and use a green cleaner for the glass. Eco-friendly cleaning products are made with simple ingredients like vinegar and mild, plant-based cleaning products, but they penetrate bacteria and leave glass looking like new. Finally, avoid smoking or vaping in your car.
If you are a frequent driver or passenger in a busy urban area or congested highway, then pay attention to the indoor air quality inside your vehicle. On particularly busy days, use your car’s recirculation system and keep the fan on high. Make sure your vehicle is clean and that your air filter is working well. Finally, only use eco-friendly cleaners to keep your interiors spick and span.