Common Questions About Ozone Machines & Odor Elimination
How is Ozone Used?
Commercial ozone generators are designed for use in unoccupied spaces. Shortly after treatment the O3 will revert back to O2, leaving no vapors in the air or residue on surfaces. At the same time, ozone is powerful oxidizer and excessive ozone concentrations may cause mucus membrane or respiratory irritation, and can affect people with asthma. Several years ago, a concern developed when consumer air purifiers began to incorporate ozone and were marketed as around the clock units for homes and offices. The possibility of long term exposure for consumers resulted in a notice of caution by government agencies. Therefore, it is always best to use ozone in unoccupied spaces as recommended.
What is Ozone?
Ozone (O3) is a highly charged form of the oxygen (O2) that we breathe. Outdoors, ozone has been produced for millions of years. At ground level, O3 acts as an oxidizer to keep the air smelling fresh. In the upper atmosphere, ozone acts as a protective layer that partially shields the earth from the sun's UV rays. Life on earth as we know it could not exist without O3. This third oxygen atom is loosely attached, unstable and seeks out pollutants. It will then release and oxidize them on contact.
How is Ozone Produced?
Ozone is created by lightning during active thunderstorms by splitting O2 molecules in half, and allowing the single molecules to attach to regular oxygen molecules, thus becoming O3. The process is known as corona discharge and often creates a fresh smell in the air after a thunderstorm that can be very distinctive. Ozone is also created by ultraviolet rays from the sun striking the earth and its atmosphere.
How does the OdorFree Generator Create Ozone?
The OdorFree generators utilize electricity to create a corona discharge which duplicates the effect of lightning. This technology employs a special transformer that sends a current to the stainless steel screen on the ceramic plate. As a result, the O2 molecule is split, which then combines with other O2 molecules to create the O3 molecule, or ozone.
How Is Ozone Beneficial in Removing Odors?
Ozone is very effective because it will circulate throughout an area and eliminate odors at their source. It actually oxidizes odors as it encounters them, whether they are in the air or on surfaces. These include odors from tobacco smoke, food and beverages, body sweat, animals and pets, garbage, remodeling and many more odor producing substances. It will also follow the same path that the odors took into soft fabrics and oxidize them on contact. Unlike deodorizers, it does not leave a smell or residue in the facility, which some people find objectionable. The treated area becomes free of odors.
How Much Ozone Is Needed to Eliminate Odors in a Particular Area?
Each space that has developed an odor is somewhat unique, so square footage is not always the best way to determine how long the treatment should be. For example, if a hotel room was smoked in for one evening, a 20 or 30 minute treatment should eliminate the odors. However, if the room had been smoked in heavily for a week, it could take several hours of treatment. And to convert a smoking room into a non-smoking room could take as long as 24 hours to eliminate the odors. The ozone output of the OdorFree generators is rated in milligrams per hour. In general, the higher the output the less time it takes to eliminate odors.
How Easy is it to Use and Install?
Just plug in the unit, select an Ozone Output level on the dial and set the Timer. Close off and vacate the area to be treated, and let the OdorFree do its work. Upon return, make sure the unit has been off for 45 minutes or an hour before reoccupying the space. Unwanted odors will have been oxidized and the area will smell fresh. Note: The OdorFree also has a "Hold" feature on the Timer for really tough odors so that it runs until manually turned off.
What Maintenance is Required?
The primary maintenance involves the ceramic plates, which need to be cleaned about every three months or so, depending on the environment and the amount of use. They are easily removable from the back of the OdorFree like a CD. So there is no need to disassemble the generator for cleaning, as with other manufacturers. Simply wash the plates with soap or a spray cleaner, then rinse and dry completely. Typically, the plates last 2 to 3 years depending on the environment and use. An optional filter is also included that helps keep the plates clean for a longer period of time. Replaceable plates and filters are available.
How Is Ozone Treatment Different from Air Filtration?
Air filters trap particles that are floating in the air onto a membrane as they are drawn into the filter. They normally do not have an impact on odors, but in some cases, certain gases can be trapped as well. An odor molecule must get passed through the membrane in order to be captured, so filters are unable to affect the source of the odors. Ozone generators on the other hand, send out O3 into the treatment area to oxidize and remove odors at their source.
How Is Ozone Treatment Different from Deodorizers?
Most deodorizers use a fragrance formulation to counteract odors combined with fragrances to help cover them up. The fragrances used in deodorization will normally leave some residue in the air and on surfaces. Some people find these fumes unpleasant, while those who are highly sensitive may have a reaction. Ozone, on the other hand, is designed to oxidize odors at their source. It usually dissipates less than an hour, leaving the air smelling fresh, with no residue. In fact, it will even eliminate the heavy smell that can linger from a deodorizer.
How is Ozone Created in Polluted Cities?
Since life began, ozone has been produced on earth as a result of sunlight striking gases being emitted from decaying matter, keeping the planet fresh. This is a response to pollution in the air. When automobiles and industry pollute the air in our cities, UV light from the sun strikes these emissions, creating ozone as one of the byproducts. Burning fossil fuel also creates very fine particulate as well as numerous compounds, but ozone is easy to measure and used as an overall indicator of pollution. Cleaner burning fuels, more efficient engines and exhaust reduction devices have begun to slowly improve air quality in many US cities.