Ozone Machine Vs. Air Scrubber – Which To Choose?

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Ozone machines and air scrubbers are good additional protection against the pollutants around. However, it can be confusing on which to choose between the two. We've researched about them to compare which is the best option for you, and here is what we found out:

Both devices are both dealing with air contaminants differently. However, according to US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], it is not recommended to use ozone machines in occupied spaces since it can cause harm to human health. On the other hand, an air scrubber is a much safer option for dealing with indoor air pollution.

What makes them different, safe, or dangerous? We will thoroughly discuss more of these in a little while. If you are interested to learn them, keep reading. 

An ozone machine on a white background, Ozone Machine Vs. Air Scrubber - Which To Choose?

Ozone Machine Vs. Air Scrubber

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is because the space is enclosed. As a result, the pollution is gathered inside, where occupants can directly inhale them. 

A blue Ozone machine on a white background

Unfortunately, 90% of Americans usually spend their time indoors. This means that all the contaminants around us are being exposed and breathed in openly. To be aware of the risks we are discussing, we will start with the fact that they are grouped into two groups—biological and chemical. Here are the pollutants under each grouping:

Biological Pollutants

These are those produced by living organisms that can survive in damp or dust-accumulated areas in your home. Biological pollutants can trigger allergic reactions [asthma, allergic rhinitis, etc.] and infectious diseases [cold, cough, fever, lethargy, digestive problems, dizziness, etc.]

Contributing factors of biological pollutants:

  • Pollens from plants
  • Droppings, body parts, or saliva of insects or pests such as cockroaches.
  • Viruses from pets and humans
  • Molds or indoor fungus
  • Dead skin flakes, urine, fecal, hair, and saliva of household pets and pests such as rats
  • Mildews and contaminants formed from central air handling systems at home

Chemical Pollutant 

Chemical pollutants refer to chemical contaminants that are not naturally found. They are often accumulated by breathing in. When inhaled,  it can cause dizziness, headache, vomiting, chest pain, asthma, lung damage, etc. The chemical contaminants indoors and where you can find them at home are listed down below:

  • Carbon monoxide - gas-fueled space heaters or furnaces, wood stoves, grilling, etc.
  • Ozone - ozone generators
  • Tobacco smoke - first-hand and secondhand smoking
  • Volatile organic compound - varnishes, waxes, and paints. Also cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetics, as well as other household products. 
  • Radon - through the water system, soil, air, and;
  • Pesticide

Aside from the things above, more factors affect indoor air quality. This includes air exchange rate, the outside climate, weather, and the condition of people living inside the house. 

Now that you know the pollutions that might all be active inside your home, you may now have an idea of why a lot of air-cleaning devices are available on the market. Which points us back to the main agenda, which is better to choose—air scrubber or ozone machine?

What Is An Ozone Machine?

Ozone machines, also known as an ozone generator, is a device that imitates the process of making an Ozone—a 3-atom molecule created during a strike of lightning and Ultraviolet light of the sun. The oxygen that keeps the living things on the planet breathing is only made up of 2 oxygen.

So, that additional oxygen is what attracts the contaminants' particles in the air. Then, it breaks them down into less harmful molecules through oxidation. And the phrase that is often associated with ozone is "good up high, bad nearby" by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]. 

The good ozone can be found from the stratosphere up to 6-30 miles above it. According to EPA, any ozone present underneath that or at ground level is bad or considered a harmful pollutant. You may be getting the hint now that ozone machines are not the best option to choose against the air scrubber. 

But, still, we will prove to you why. There are health risks given by health professionals that were confirmed by studies that are caused by exposure to ozone.

Health effects as enlisted by EPA

  • Decreases the function of the lungs
  • Worsening asthma
  • Irritation of throat 
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Inflammation of lung tissue
  • Worsening respiratory infection

Also, some studies claim that ozone machines "do not exceed" the public health standard. It has a weak tendency to eliminate indoor air contaminants and does not effectively remove odor-causing materials and biological pollutants like viruses, molds, and bacteria. 

Aside from that, there is misleading information from some manufacturers and vendors that EPA cleared and explained as a fallacy. Here are the facts that they've stated:

  • The reaction process with ozone takes a long time [months or years]. 
  • Ozone does not effectively remove carbon monoxide and formaldehyde—two of the most common air pollutant. 
  • The reaction that was made by ozone and other chemicals produces harmful by-products.
  • Particles such as allergens such as dust and pollens can't be eliminated by ozone.
  • Some substances that produce odors can be removed by ozone, but body odors can only be masked. 
  • Ozone generators cannot fully decontaminate the air 

While ozone machines aren't entirely prohibited from being used indoors, it is advised to be guided by professionals to choose the perfect device size for the place where it will be used. Also, you should be aware that it shouldn't be used in occupied spaces to prevent people from being exposed to the ozone molecules produced.

Want to learn more about this? Read this: "How To Use Ozone Generator In Your Home."

What Is An Air Scrubber?

vacuum cleaner HEPA filter with fiber paper

An air scrubber is a device that uses a series of stages to purify indoor air. It includes a blower that pulls the air into the machine, HEPA air filters that strain the contaminant particles and allergens, and a dry or wet method of scrubbing the air.

According to a study, HEPA filters can remove indoor pollutants that are 0.3 μm in diameter or bigger with 99.97% efficacy. This makes air scrubbers an excellent choice for improving your home, office, or any commercial setting's indoor air quality. It can remove most of the pollutants in the air in 30 minutes.

Along with that, here are the other benefits you can get from using it:

  • Removes odor
  • Provides clean air
  • Protects people from sickness
  • More potent than other HVAC systems
  • Cost-effective

Types of Air Scrubbers

There are a lot of types of air scrubbers that you might encounter. For you to be familiar, we will give their names.

  • Electrostatic precipitator - Uses electrical energy to capture pollutants from gases. It has three kinds—plate [most basic type], dry, and wet precipitator.
  • Portable air scrubber - Moves the device around and is not attached to the permanent system.
  • Negative air scrubber - Captures contaminants by releasing negative air pressure in the atmosphere.
  • Packed bed scrubber - Accommodates gaseous pollutants.
  • Cyclone spray chamber - Uses both the function of the cyclone and spray tower to eliminate indoor pollution.
  • Venturi air scrubber - The water jet method is used in this type of air scrubber. 

How To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

Millions of deaths are caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution each year. Until stationaries (factories, oil refineries, etc.), vehicles, and natural and irresponsible human activities are stopped, the air pollution may still worsen. This is why it's essential to take extra preventive measures such as:

  • Have good ventilation by opening windows or doors.
  • Turning on exhaust fans
  • Not smoking inside the space. 
  • Using air purifiers or dehumidifiers
  • Giving your pets a bath
  • Changing or cleaning air filters
  • Cleaning the space regularly using natural, homemade solutions
  • Avoid odor-masking products such as scented candles, air fresheners, etc.
  • Reducing the use of the fireplace

About the regular cleaning of the space, other tips that you should do are:

  • Using vacuum instead of brooms
  • Not using too much carpet
  • Putting doormats on entry doors
  • Using microfiber dust cloth instead of regular cotton rug

Want to know what fireplace alternatives you can have? Learn them here: "What Heaters Are Safe For Indoors? [7 Options Explored]."

Conclusion

An ozone machine on a white background

Air scrubber is a better choice for creating a healthier environment since ozone machines produce ozone molecules that are very harmful to the respiratory health of people. Ozone machines are not verified and marked as safe air-cleaning devices by the government, but still, vendors say false claims to buyers.

Millions of deaths occur every year because of indoor and outdoor pollution, so we should know what we can do to minimize being exposed to it. Some of the things we can do are to clean our space, pets, and air cleaning devices regularly. Proper ventilation and avoidance of using chemical-producing particles like fireplace, air fresheners, and smoking are advised. 

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