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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The owner's manual says to keep the heat/air in "fresh air" mode in "normal situations" (page 166) but I live in the Washington, DC metro area and we have the 9th worst air quality in the country so there's really no such thing as fresh air around here. When I drive in "fresh air" mode I can smell car exhaust fumes in my car the entire time.

On my last Accord (2003) I kept the outside air vents closed the majority of the time except during stormy weather when the inside windows would fog up occasionally and I never had any problems with the heating or cooling system.

So, I was just curious if anyone else drives this way or if it's not a good idea to keep it in recirculation mode the entire time (outside air vents closed).

Maybe I should open and close the vents a few times a week or month to keep something lubricated...like the hinges on the vents or something?
 

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It's not a problem to keep it in recirculate most of the time. Honda, along with the other manufacturers recommend fresh air for liability reasons. They fear that if you developed an exhaust leak inside the car you could become asphyxiated by carbon monoxide fumes. Recirculate will always bring in fresh air and dilute the carbon monoxide if it exists. My wife drives her Fit in recirculate almost all the time and nothing has happened. I have been driving my Accord in recirculate to help keep in the 'new car' odor. I like the smell.

The AC/Heat system has a cabin filter that will trap pollen and dust in the air just like the air filter to the engine. Unfortunately, it doesn't filter out exhaust and other odors. Honda recommends that you change both filters at the same time.
 

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i used to drive with recirc, but ive noticed my windows fog up A LOT. fresh air mode definitely keeps the humidity in the car low, but i understand why you'd keep the recirc on. better to have foggy windows than foggy lungs..
 

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I keep Recirc on most of the time.
 

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i used to drive with recirc, but ive noticed my windows fog up A LOT. fresh air mode definitely keeps the humidity in the car low, but i understand why you'd keep the recirc on. better to have foggy windows than foggy lungs..
Just keep the AC on and the fog will go away. The auto temperature control will regulate the AC and the heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the comments...I'm not so crazy afterall. :nuts:

And FlyBoy is correct...you can keep the car in recirc mode 24/7 and just run the A/C if the windows fog up (yes, you can run the A/C in the winter when the heat is on...it just removes the moisture from the air, it won't make the car cold). That's what I did with my 2003 Accord and it worked fine for 10 years.
 

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If you run recirc all the time the humidity will gradually build up in the carpets and seat material and your car will stink I would assume, even if you run AC all the time. Also running AC all the time will use more fuel. I see many cars around me in the winter with foggy inside windows, I believe the AC will not kick in if it is below freezing.
 

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Some people claim that using Fram FreshBreeze filters (with carbon!) help with those smells. I use that filter and didn't really smell anything drastically different from a regular one. But, might be worth a shot if you haven't tried it yet.
 

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If you run recirc all the time the humidity will gradually build up in the carpets and seat material and your car will stink I would assume, even if you run AC all the time. Also running AC all the time will use more fuel. I see many cars around me in the winter with foggy inside windows, I believe the AC will not kick in if it is below freezing.
The AC does work when the temperature is below freezing because as soon as I press the AC button the fog begins to clear. I think it automatically comes on in the de-frost mode. As for a buildup of humidity, the car is not airtight and even in the recirculate mode outside air does come into the car. Also, when it's parked the humidity will decrease with the temperature and everything will dry out. So far, the new car smell has not been replaced with a bad odor. :notworthy
 

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^^I think new car smell isn't healthy....it's offgasing from the plastics?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you run recirc all the time the humidity will gradually build up in the carpets and seat material and your car will stink I would assume, even if you run AC all the time. Also running AC all the time will use more fuel. I see many cars around me in the winter with foggy inside windows, I believe the AC will not kick in if it is below freezing.
I ran the A/C the majority of the time in my 2003 Accord for 10 years and never noticed any bad smell in the car as a result of it. But I do agree it uses a bit more fuel.

And my A/C kicks in at any outside temperature. If I set it to 75, for example, and it goes above that, it will turn on regardless of how cold it is outside. The A/C system is monitoring the temperature inside the car, not outside.
 

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^^I think new car smell isn't healthy....it's offgasing from the plastics?
It couldn't be any worse on my lungs than the thirty years I smoked until I quit in 1994. :banana:
 

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The AC does work when the temperature is below freezing because as soon as I press the AC button the fog begins to clear. I think it automatically comes on in the de-frost mode. As for a buildup of humidity, the car is not airtight and even in the recirculate mode outside air does come into the car. Also, when it's parked the humidity will decrease with the temperature and everything will dry out. So far, the new car smell has not been replaced with a bad odor. :notworthy
I could be wrong but in GM cars the AC does not work below freezing to keep the evaporator from icing up, the reason the windows clear is because you have the setting on 'Defrost' so that will naturally clear the front window
 

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I could be wrong but in GM cars the AC does not work below freezing to keep the evaporator from icing up, the reason the windows clear is because you have the setting on 'Defrost' so that will naturally clear the front window
Since the evaporator is inside the car, I don't think it will ice up. Evaporators ice up when the refrigerant level gets too low not the outside temperature. I don't know about GM cars, but I think Honda uses both the AC and the heater year round to maintain the selected interior temperature. My wife's Fit doesn't have automatic temperature control. When the windows fog up I can press the AC button and they clear up more quickly than just using hot air alone.
 

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I could be wrong but in GM cars the AC does not work below freezing to keep the evaporator from icing up, the reason the windows clear is because you have the setting on 'Defrost' so that will naturally clear the front window
There was a thread a while ago where this came up, and I think it's sampling the air temperature or coil temperature to make sure it doesn't get so cold as to ice up. If you're drawing hot air through it (to dry out winter air while keeping it warm), this obviously won't be a problem.
 

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I turn the recirc on when a stinky vehicle gets in front of me, or someone is smoking in their car at a stoplight.

The AC is more useful to dehumidify the air and defog the windows. Without the AC on, I feel like I'm gagging in the car even in winter because the air is too dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Since the evaporator is inside the car, I don't think it will ice up. Evaporators ice up when the refrigerant level gets too low not the outside temperature. I don't know about GM cars, but I think Honda uses both the AC and the heater year round to maintain the selected interior temperature. My wife's Fit doesn't have automatic temperature control. When the windows fog up I can press the AC button and they clear up more quickly than just using hot air alone.
I was out driving tonight and had the inside temp set to 76 with the A/C set to on. At a stoplight, I heard the A/C click on and when I looked down at the outside temp gauge it said 30. So, it looks like it comes on whether or not it's below freezing outside.
 
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