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Are Ozone Generators Effective At Removing or Controlling Odors?

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are a class of liquids that quickly evaporate when exposed to room temperatures and air. VOCs are present in almost every household product, personal care product, and even in fabrics and upholstery throughout the home.

VOCs present a respiratory irritant to many people, especially those with allergies or asthma. As a result, you need to limit the presence of these airborne pollutants in your home. VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene are toxic carcinogens. Overexposure to these VOCs results in the development of health issues and, potentially, cancer.

VOCs have a particular odor, leaving the home smelling like a new apartment or a new car. This smell can linger in the air for months, causing problems with your breathing. According to reviews, ozone generators are particularly useful for removing high concentrations of VOCs from the air.

This post looks at everything you need to know about using ozone generators to remediate the air in your home and remove unpleasant odors.

How Do Ozone Generators Remove Odors?

Ozone generators work by breaking down oxygen molecules, allowing for single atoms to bond with oxygen to create ozone (O3). The ozone generators found in the commercial and consumer cleaning market operate under one of two methods, through corona discharge, a process utilizing electric discharge or UV radiation exposure to split oxygen molecules.

Manufacturers of ozone generators claim that the introduction of ozone into the air in the room reacts with bad odors, neutralizing them. However, according to scientific research, it could take years for ozone to break down the components of VOCs.

Research also shows that the use of ozone alone in air cleaning systems is inefficient. It also creates the possibility for an increase in respiratory problems in people living in the house.

Some research shows that the reaction between ozone and some VOCs may from harmful byproducts like aldehydes, fine particles, and organic acids.

However, there is some evidence showing ozone is effective at removing some VOC contaminants. In particular, ozone is effective at eliminating acrolein, one of the chemicals in secondhand smoke. Ozone may also be useful in breaking down VOCs created by cooking oils and cleaning detergents.

Can Ozone Generators Remove Common Odors from My Home?

Ozone generators are somewhat effective at removing VOCs from the air inside your home. However, can they do the same for more common odors like pet urine or tobacco smoke? Here's how ozone generators perform with other household odors.

Pet Odors

Pets are our furry friends, but they are one of the biggest causes of odors in the home. Pet dander is the name for the skin cells your dog or cat sheds throughout the day. Like humans, our pets shed their skin in microscopic dust particles that we can't see with the naked eye.

These contaminants enter the air and start to cause a smell emulating the odor of your pet. Ozone generators are effective at removing pet odors, masking them from detection. However, you'll still breathe in the pet dander, and that might spark allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

However, ozone generators are not effective at removing the smell of animal urine from the room. You'll need to clean the source of the urine smell and air our the house.

Transportation Odors

Some truckers transporting livestock and other smelly materials might require odor removal from their cabin every few months. Ozone generators will pump the gas into the unoccupied cabin and absorb and neutralize the smell.

Depending on the extent of the problem, the vehicle owner may have to run the generator for up to three hours inside the vehicle to neutralize the smell. In the worst cases, the cabin might require several treatments to remove the odor.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke is a toxic blend of thousands of harmful chemicals. Removing it from the air in your home is necessary, especially if you have other people living in the house that are non-smokers.

However, ozone generators have limited success in filtering the smell of cigarette smoke from the air. If you want to remove odors like smoke, you're going to need to use a carbon filtration system for the best results.

Carbon filters remove the smoke smell, but they often require linking to another air system to remove particulate matter.

Mildew and Mold

Mildew and mold can leave a house smelling musty. The spores from the mold may also contain mycotoxins that are harmful to your health.

Ozone generators are viable options for removing mold spores from the air, remediating the air conditions in the room. Mold oxidizes under high shock ozone treatment. However, this level of exposure to ozone is toxic for humans. 

While ozone generators effectively remove the mold spores from the air, they won't do anything to suppress the source. If mold is present in your home, it continues to grow and release spores, contaminating the air supply.

As a result, you'll need to find and remove the source of the mold to stop the problem. Contact MI&T for a mold inspection service you can trust. They'll discover and identify the mold in your home and make recommendations for removal.

Body Odor

If you're a landlord, you may notice that your apartment may smell like your old tenant after they leave. In most cases, it's not a pleasant odor. It's challenging to remove the scent of body odor from the room, even with the doors and windows open.

It might seem like the ozone generator is the perfect tool for the task of remediating the air. However, the ozone will mask the smell, but it won't remove the source of the problem. You'll need to clean the apartment thoroughly to remove the smell and then use ozone to remediate the air before renting it out to a new tenant.

Industrial Odors

Ozone generators are not effective at removing industrial pollutants from the air. If you live near an industrial area, it's a better choice to go with a carbon filtration system attached to a HEPA filter.

When Would I Need an Ozone Generator?

Ozone generators have a primary use in industry, particularly in air remediation in large commercial spaces or in homes where the entire house needs the air replacing after a remodel. Industrial ozone generators pump out huge amounts of the gas into rooms to remove mold infestations and spores from the air.

Typically, the ozone chokes the life out of the mold, killing it. After leaving the ozone to settle, the remediation contractor will normally suck it all back up from the room, including all the particulate matter and mold spores trapped by the ozone molecules.

Ozone generators are expensive to hire and can cost up to $2,000 to remediate your property. However, air conditioning models that include ozone generators are easy to find for less than $500. It's important to note that the generators on portable air conditioning units release smaller quantities of ozone. They don't really create that much of an impact in improving air quality.

Some reviews of these machines state that they may actually decrease the air quality in the room during the initial operation. It takes time for the air to start circulating, but the ozone immediately starts pumping out into the air.

Ozone Generators for Mold Remediation

During the spring and early summer, the increase in temperature and humidity levels in the air cause mold to become active. Mold in your lawn and in piles of leaves in the garden will start releasing spores into the air.

The wind carries these spores through open doors and windows, allowing them to settle in your home. If the mold finds a dark, damp spot, it starts to grow, releasing more spores into the air inside the room. If you have a mold infestation, you'll notice a musty smell in the room, and it's common for these issues to occur in basements where water can collect unnoticed.

If you leave the mold unnoticed, it spreads throughout the home, infesting the entire house from top to bottom. It's common for abandoned houses to have huge mold infestations requiring professional removal of the mold and remediation of the air.

Professional removal companies bring in ozonators to flood the home with ozone. The ozone traps the mold spores in the air, causing them to fall to the ground, trapped with the ozone. After a few hours, the contractor pulls the air back out of the room, leaving it clean and free of mold spores.

These high-capacity ozone generators are not suitable for use around the home, and they are expensive units used in professional mold remediation.

What Precautions Do I Need with Ozone Generators?

Ozone generators are somewhat effective at removing odors from the air. However, the use of these machines comes with pros and cons that the homeowner needs to understand. Ozone is a molecule containing three oxygen molecules. Typically, you can find this gas present in the stratosphere.

In the stratosphere, this gas plays the role of filtering out the harmful UV rays from the sun. That's a beneficial role in the environment. However, at ground level, the gas interacts with nitrogen compounds and oxygen to create smog – that's not beneficial to society.

Ground-level ozone is also a pollutant creating respiratory inflammation and irritation.

If a person has prolonged exposure to high levels of ozone, it results in the onset of respiratory distress.

As a result of the ozone produced by these machines, you should never run them in a room with people or pets present. Vacate the room, and use the Ozonator, then air out the room before taking reoccupation of the space.

If you're using the generator to clean out the smell in your car, run it and seal the car for two hours. Open the doors and windows and let the car air out for at least an hour before driving. Preferably, leave the car in the garage with the windows down overnight to remove all traces of ozone from inside the vehicle.

Get an Air Inspection for Your Home

Before you decide on an air purification for your home, take your time to get an air inspection. Contact MI&T, the leader in-home air quality inspections. MI&T provides you with an unbiased air quality report, and they'll find any mold in your home.

MI&T uses the latest air detection technology to locate the source of any mold in the air. We check every room in the house, and we'll tell you if there are several infestations you need to resolve. As an independent air quality testing service, we don't have ties to any contractors.

We won't tell you there's mold in one spot and leave another area to grow in your house to get removal fees. We don't work with any contractors, and we don't make any recommendations for removal services.

With MI&T, you get an unbiased review of the air quality in your home that you can trust. Contact our service desk and arrange your inspection right now.

Are Ozone Generators Effective At Removing or Controlling Odors? – Key Takeaways

After reviewing the evidence, we can make the following conclusions about using ozone generators to clean the air in your home.

Ozone generators come with several health risks, especially to people with asthma or allergies.

An increase in ground-level ozone in the home causes a rise in respiratory distress.

People with allergies may experience breathing problems, coughing, or shortness of breath when ozone is present in the air.

Ozone generators typically come as additional functions on portable and HVAC air conditioning systems.

Standalone ozone generators are typically only used in the industrial cleaning industry to remediate large rooms and spaces.

Studies on the effects of ozone generators show that these devices cannot remove gaseous pollutants like VOCs and smoke from the air in the room.

Other purification technologies that combine HEPA and carbon filtration are much more effective for home use.

Before installing any air purification system in your home, call MI&T for an air inspection of your premises.