humidifier steam released near houseplants

How to safely generate ozone in your home

When you think of “ozone”, you probably think of the thin, protective layer of gas that surrounds our planet and filters UV radiation. Although this is true, ozone in this case, refers to a simple O₃ molecule that is known for its oxidizing, or sanitizing, properties in both water and air. Because of this, ozone generators have become an effective solution to purifying the air in your home. 

From explaining the detailed process, to addressing safety protocol, here is everything you need to know about ozone generators.

First thing’s first: What is ozone?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. That third oxygen atom is considered unstable, meaning it can detach and re-attach to molecules of other substances, thereby altering their chemical structure entirely. 

What does an ozone generator do? 

As the name suggests, ozone generators produce the gas ozone. Ozone, as we previously mentioned, is known for its excellent sanitation capabilities. Because of this, many people opt to use these devices in their homes to remove organic compounds including pollutants, bacteria, and lingering odor from the air. Some brands, such as the OG-25-Blu by Home Sanitizer Solutions, feature additional features like built-in UV lamps to further reduce the risk of bacteria and viruses.

The science behind the method

  1. Oxygen (O₂) is pulled into the device with fans.
  2. Ozone (O₃) is emitted from the device. 
  3. O₃ sanitizes the air by breaking down odors, micro-organisms, and other pollutants.
  4. The air is sanitized and unpleasant odors are removed! 

How long does it take for ozone to dissipate? 

According to the Home Air Advisor, ozone lasts between 30 minutes and 4 hours before it converts back into oxygen. Higher levels of ozone concentration generally take 3 to 4 hours to dissipate, while lower levels can clear out in about 2 hours. For extra safety precautions, it is suggested to wait at least 4 hours before returning to the room.

Are ozone generators safe?

When used properly, ozone generators are safe and sanitizing. Proper levels of ozone reduce airborne and surface-contracted illnesses that come from germs or bacteria. When not used properly, too much ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing and sneezing, and in some cases, respiratory tract inflammation and infections. To ensure your safety, always refer to the recommended protocol when using one of these devices.

How to use an ozone generator safely 

Although ozone is purifying and sanitizing, too much exposure could be harmful to your health. To combat potential dangers, we’ve compiled a list with important safety tips to adhere to:

  • Use in an unoccupied space: For smaller jobs confined to one area, place the generator to a low setting in an unoccupied room. When using higher levels of ozone for full house cleaning, it is critical to ensure all plants, animals, and humans are not at home when the machine is in use. Although you can stay at home when using lower levels, it is highly recommended to vacate the home for at least 24 hours.
  • Limit use based on room size: When using your ozone generator, it is imperative to monitor and limit its run time. Luckily, devices such as the OG-10-YLW generator by Home Sanitizer Solutions feature adjustable shut-off settings designed to let you know exactly how much time the generator will run before shutting off automatically. If your machine does not feature automatic settings, properly cover your mouth and nose before entering the room to turn it off manually. 

Below are the recommended operating times for 10g of ozone: 

100 sqft = 4 minutes                          400 sqft = 32 minutes 

200 sqft = 8 minutes 500 sqft = 40 minutes 

300 sqft = 16 minutes 1,000 sqft = 80 minutes

For larger, industrial spaces, check out the OG-25-Blu by Home Sanitizer Solutions that sanitizes up to 5,000 square feet. 

  • Air out the room after use: Once you’ve completed your ozone treatment, it is recommended to open a window or door to speed up ventilation. Skipping this step could cause an unsafe level of exposure resulting in difficulty breathing, running nose, coughing, and other respiratory-related symptoms.
  • Maintain your device: Like anything, it is important to care for your device so it functions at the highest possible standard. Some actions to maintain your generator include keeping it uncovered and unobstructed, replacing filters frequently, and opting for professional installation if needed.

What are ozone generators best for?

According to a 2006 study, research has shown that ozone is especially effective at eliminating lingering odors. It accomplishes this by breaking down carbon-carbon bonds generally found in common household products including cooking oils, air fresheners, and cleaning agents. In addition, this highly-reactive molecule is superior in eliminating odors from tobacco smoke, smoke caused by fires, cooking, and overwhelming pet odors.

What is unaffected by ozone?

Research has found that ozone generating devices were ineffective at stopping mold growth. Even at high concentrations, ozone has little to no effect on mold embedded in porous household materials such as duct lining or ceiling tiles. In short, ozone might be capable of inhibiting further mold growth, but will not remove it entirely.  

When not to use an ozone generator

When dealing with ozone, it is important to note that every household is different. Certain groups such as children, older or elderly, adults, and asthmatics are generally more vulnerable to the effects of ozone. If there are people in your home who fall under these categories, it might be wise to consult a healthcare professional prior to using your device. 

When used properly, ozone generators are a fantastic sanitization solution. They combat germs and other common household air pollutants that can cause unpleasant odors. Investing in an ozone generator is a great first step to improving your way of life and feeling great about your home. 

To learn more, check out the Home Air Guides website for more about ozone generators and other air purification information.