Coughing and Sniffling? Consider Your Combine's Cab Air Filter
Aug 22, 2015
In the old days, air filters basically filtered out the "big chunks" and kept fresh air moving inside combine cabs. Today cab air filters are part of an almost hygienic air system that, if overlooked or abused, can not only cost significant cash to replace, but can actually affect the health of the machine's operator.
The problem is two-fold: first, modern combine cabs are so well-sealed that the only air that gets into the cab must pass through the cab air filter. Operating in dry, dusty conditions can clog the air filter so that it not only inhibits air flow and reduces operator comfort, but that increased restriction can make the ventilation system work extra hard and eventually damage fan motors or cause problems with the a/c system. Repairs to ventilation systems now seem to start at $100 and quickly head toward four figures, so failure to regularly clean cab filters can become an expensive oversight.
Second, a clogged air filter can actually make the operator subtly sick, though it's a slow process. If a combine is put into storage with a clogged, dirty air filter, that dust will often mold or grow "stuff" during the months of storage. Even if the operator removes and cleans the air filter just before harvest the following year, mold spores, fungi and other contaminants are by then ingrained in the fibers of the filter and inoculated into the cab's air system and the operator's lungs throughout the following fall's harvest. The operator may not get downright sick, but may suffer nagging problems with sinuses, coughing and other upper respiratory complaints all the time he's running the machine.
The best guarantee for operator comfort is a new air filter just before the beginning of harvest. Otherwise, it's perfectly acceptable to simply blow out a dusty filter, but the best practice is to do that right after harvest before storing the machine, rather than just before harvest (after the filter has sat for 10 months and grown a crop of mold spores and other microscopic critters guaranteed to keep you sniffling and coughing all fall.)