Odor stinks – and yes, pun intended. It might be that musty basement, the lingering smell of cigarette smoke, pet odor, or an awful skunk smell that gives your home a characteristic odor that you can’t seem to get rid of. If that’s your current dilemma, then an ozone generator might be just what you need to improve the indoor air quality in your home or workspace.
That being said, you need to use it correctly to not only get the best results but also protect your health while you’re at it.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is, “how long should I wait after using ozone generator”. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is an Ozone Generator?
An ozone generator, or Ozonator for short, is a device that eradicates pollutants and unpleasant odor when baking soda, vinegar, air cleaners, or a conventional air purifier just won’t cut it. It works by trapping indoor air containing carbon dioxide (CO2) and then converting it to ozone via electrical discharge, also known as corona discharge. This splits the molecule to create freestanding oxygen (O) atoms, which then bind to other oxygen atoms to form ozone.
While some generators use ultraviolet radiation to mimic how UV light from the sun splits oxygen atoms, this is a less effective method than corona discharge.
Ozone is a type of oxygen molecule that contains three atoms (O3) as opposed to the conventional O2. The third atom detaches from the main molecule with relative ease, allowing it to bind to the chemical structure of microorganisms like germs, bacteria, viruses, odor, and other contaminants, altering them in the process.
To deodorize a room, shut the doors and windows, switch on the portable ozone generator, and leave it running for a preset duration. No one should be in the room while it’s operating. Once it’s done its job, open the door to allow the air to escape before reentering the room.
Top commercial ozone generators like the 10,000 mg/h Ozonator from Home Sanitizer Solutions are ideal for purifying, sterilizing, and deodorizing indoor spaces.
Ozone Machine Dangers: Risks Posed by Ozone Generators
While Ozonators work exceptionally well to eradicate bad odor, they need to be used with caution. They are generally safe to use in medical and industrial applications where strict safety guidelines are followed. On the other hand, using them at home can be hazardous if proper care isn’t taken due to the chemical properties of ozone.
Ozone gas has the uncanny ability to react with germs, bacteria, viruses, and other organic compounds, giving it its disinfection properties. This molecule’s volatile nature also means that it can react with similar organic compounds in the human body.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, ozone’s toxicological and chemical properties are widely different from oxygen. As a result, ozonation can lead to a host of health complications, including:
- Chest pain
- Lung damage
- Shortness of breath
- Suppression of the body’s ability to ward off respiratory infections
- Throat irritation
- Trouble breathing
The effect of exposure can be worse for children, the elderly, and individuals with existing respiratory issues such as asthma. While exposure to low amounts of ozone isn’t particularly harmful, prolonged inhalation can cause severe and often irreversible damage to the respiratory system.
Additionally, ozone can affect indoor plants, causing conditions such as dark and patchy-looking pigmentation, irregular spots, and in some cases, even death. High ozone concentration can also affect synthetic carpets, rubber, plastics, furniture covers, fabrics, etc.
How to Use an Ozone Generator Safely
The half-life of ozone is approximately 20 minutes and tends to build up in confined spaces. This is why it is so effective in getting rid of foul odors. When using an ozone generator, the one thing to keep in mind is minimizing or completely avoiding inhaling the gas, given how highly reactive it is. Below are some tips for using ozone generators safely.
1. Use the Generator as Directed by the Manufacturer
Before running the device to improve the air quality in your home or workspace, ensure you’ve read through the manual to make sure you’re using it correctly. Most manufacturers recommend that you evacuate everything from the room before turning the ozone machine on.
Evacuate all pets, plants, and any other living things from the room before you deodorize it. Additionally, ensure that you seal off the room in question by putting tape over the vents or a towel under the door to prevent the volatile gas from spreading into other areas of your home.
2. Adhere to the Recommended Run Time
The ideal duration for running an ozone generator is anywhere between three and six hours, depending on the size of the room and how bad the odor you want to get rid of is. If you intend to carry out ozone disinfection of your entire house, let the air vents and air conditioner pull up the ozone gas being emitted by the generator to distribute it throughout your entire home. Odor removal usually takes 24-36 hours.
3. Set the Timer
The best ozone generators like the 10,000 mg/h high capacity Ozonator come with a timer that allows the ozone unit to run anywhere between a few minutes to several hours. Once that time elapses, the device automatically shuts off. This eliminates the need for you to enter the space being deodorized to manually switch the device off.
If your ozone generator doesn’t have a timer installed or the timer in question no longer works, take a deep breath, cover your nose and mouth with a towel, quickly enter the room and switch off the machine, and exit immediately once you do. This process should take you no more than a few seconds since the ozone level in the room will be exceptionally high at that point.
4. Wait a While Before Going Back In
If you’re wondering how long to wait after using ozone generator, the short answer is – no less than 4 hours (5 to be on the safe side). The longer you allow any residual ozone to disappear, the better it will be for your health. This gives each ozone molecule time to dissipate and become regular O2 that’s safe to breathe.
You might notice a lingering ozone smell long after the dissipation period has elapsed and the offending odor eradicated. This is normal, and it usually disappears on its own a few days after the ozone treatment.
Better Safe Than Sorry
If you’re looking for a safer alternative to an Ozonator or would rather skip the wait time altogether, hydroxyl generators are an excellent option to consider. They work the same way as ozone generators, except they rely on hydroxyl radicals to destroy smoke smell and any other foul odor source.
Unlike the ozone output, which may not always be safe for pets, plants, and people, hydroxyl generators produce water and carbon dioxide. If you’re in the market for an Ozonator, check out our top picks for the best ozone generators for 2021.