If you've just suffered a house fire or had one nearby, you're likely dealing with a lingering, burned odor. Maybe your spouse just quit smoking, but the leftover, stale smoke smell seems impossible to get rid of. Either way, the search for options to improve the odor at home has led you here. Could an ozone generator solve your smokey problem? We have some answers for you.
An ozone generator can get rid of a smoke smell. An ozone generator is a machine that produces the gas ozone. Although this type of generator is frequently used to help remove odors, a high amount of ozone must be emitted to eradicate the odor, and breathing in concentrated ozone gas can be hazardous to your health.
Now that we've established that a smoke smell can be removed with an ozone generator, read on to learn more about how it works and what must be considered to remove odors safely.
How An Ozone Generator Works
Ozone is oxygen molecules in a different form. The oxygen we breathe consists of two oxygen molecules, whereas ozone consists of three. The third molecule in ozone is what detaches and attaches itself to other matter or chemicals. It's the ability to attach to another substance, which eliminates odors. Ozone alters the chemical makeup of what it attaches to, thus eradicating unpleasant smells.
Ozone machines generate ozone by adding energy to regular oxygen molecules, allowing them to split off and temporarily combine with other oxygen molecules, effectively creating ozone gas. The molecules are energized generally through electric voltage in the chamber or by using ultra-violet light. The process was refined by observing nature, where ozone is created by lightning or the sun.
Do Ozone Generators Work On Cigarette Smoke?
Homes exposed to cigarette smoke for many years are difficult to deodorize completely. This is because smoke particles tend to worm their way into the smallest cracks or crevices and absorb into spots we have no hope of reaching. Since ozone grabs onto particles naturally and changes the composition of what it comes into contact with, it can change the smoke particles from smelly to non-smelly. The ozone levels have to be at an extremely high level to fully eradicate the smell, which leads us to our next caveat.
Can You Be In A House With An Ozone Machine?
You might have surmised at this point that if ozone can change the molecular structure of an unpleasant scent, it likely has some kind of effect on the human body. Ozone can be extremely dangerous for people and pets. For the ozone to be effective, it has to be concentrated to the point that it is unsafe to breathe. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns against any filtering equipment routinely used that produces ozone.
If the ozone concentration is extremely high, it can cause coughing, shortness of breath, and other respiratory issues. Do not operate an ozone machine while you, plants, or pets are inside your home. You might think you could run your ozone generator at lower concentration levels and be able to remain at home. While this is technically true, science shows that ozone concentration at levels safe for living things has little to no effect on difficult odors.
How To Use An Ozone Generator
Several steps must be taken before using the ozone generator in your home to be safe and effective. Everything has to be cleaned and scrubbed, including windows and walls. Removing any carpet and carpet padding is also advised for two reasons. One, because any lingering smoke particles underneath the carpet might not be reached. Two, because some carpeting has chemicals that could cause unpredictable reactions when combined with ozone gas.
Also, remove anything living from your home; this includes house plants. Anything valuable should be removed as well, as high concentrations of ozone can affect wiring, electronics, rubber, or dyes in fabrics.
After a thorough cleaning and removing important items, the ozone generator should be turned on, and the area evacuated. The amount of time you allow it to run depends on the size of the room you are attempting to deodorize. This timeframe ranges anywhere from three to ten hours, or potentially longer if you treat the whole house. Remember, even when the generator is shut off, you should leave your home again to allow the ozone to dissipate. For safety sake, give it at least four hours before returning home.
There are air purifiers that generate ozone as well as work as a traditional filter. Avoid using these for prolonged periods of time, as they can bring the concentration level of ozone beyond EPA safety regulations. If you are looking for an air purifier to run for longer periods of time for maintenance, look at something with a carbon filter. Carbon helps to cut down on odors and allergens.
How Long Does It Take For The Ozone Smell To Go Away?
Although the ozone itself generally dissipates within a matter of hours, the ozone's prominent smell can last around a day in most cases. You will notice the smell dissipating within about twelve hours. In instances where ozone might have been overused, the smell can last for weeks. Make every attempt not to overuse ozone to avoid the lingering scent, or hire a professional contractor familiar with using an ozone generator.
Do Hospitals Use Ozone Generators?
Health care facilities certainly benefit from the use of ozone generators. Hospitals need to have the cleanest air possible, for obvious reasons, as hospitals always house potentially critically ill patients. Because strong chemicals can't be routinely used, ozone generators can rid an area of mold, mildew, or harmful bacteria.
Using the ozone cleaners can be a little bit trickier due to constant patients. Ozone cleaners are used primarily in the wash and changing rooms to stop spreading viruses on staff. There are machines, similar to traditional washing machines, that cleanse clothing and bedding using ozone instead of regular laundry detergent.
Why Use An Ozone Generator?
Although a concentration of ozone can be bad for you, ozone gas has many benefits as well. It can kill mold and mildew, remove bacteria, viruses, and germs, as well as improving the smell of your home. All of the aforementioned things can be quite detrimental to your health, and the risk of using ozone is sometimes worth it to improve your home's air quality. Overall, it's important always to follow the manufacturer's instructions on any ozone generator you purchase and never leave it running constantly. If in doubt, consult a professional.
You don't have to live with a stale smoke smell in your home. By renting or purchasing an ozone generator and following safety precautions, you can improve your air quality, and ultimately your daily life. Bring that fresh after a storm scent inside and know you've also eradicated any mold hiding out in your house.