Germs, viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms are dangerous. There is no length these unseen parasites cannot go to cause havoc in the body; they can cause fatal diseases that lead to death. This is why sometimes, you could use an ozone generator in a home to get rid of them.
What Is an Ozone Machine and How Does It Work
An ozone machine is a mobile unit that can be used in the home or inside the car to remove indoor pollutants and odor. The machine has a compartment that traps air in the form of CO2. The oxygen in the air is then converted to ozone by an electrical discharge which simulates lightning. This method is called silent corona discharge. The electrical discharge splits the oxygen and creates single oxygen atoms which subsequently attach themselves to other oxygen (O2) atoms to form ozone. A less effective method is ultraviolet radiation which mimics how the sun’s UV radiation splits atoms of Oxygen (O2) into singular atoms.
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Ozone is a kind of Oxygen (O2) that has three atoms (O3). It is effective in disinfecting contaminants, viruses, bacteria, germ, and odor because the third molecule in ozone can detach easily and then attach itself to the chemical structure of the microorganisms and alter them. Thus making them ineffective. The ozone machine is usually turned on and left to operate for some time without anyone in the room. The room has to be opened and the air allowed to escape after the ozone has done its job.
Ozone Generator Dangers
Ozone generators are to be used with caution. Although they are considered safe in industrial and medical applications where strict safety standards are to be followed, using them at home poses serious danger to human health. The amount of ozone required to eliminate viruses and bacteria exceeds public health standards. For example, killing mold in the house will require very high output from the ozone machine. Therefore, it should be used with caution or should not be used at all in residential homes. When human beings are exposed to ozone, it can cause diverse respiratory conditions. The characteristics of ozone that make it react easily with organic compounds causing odor and pollutions are the same ones with which it reacts with organic matter in the body to cause havoc.
Such conditions that can arise include throat and lung irritation, cough, asthma, shortness of breath, chest pain, eye and nose irritation, and higher susceptibility to respiratory infection. The effect can be more serious for children, those suffering from asthma and the elderly. It can also affect pets too. The inhalation of ozone can attack the immune system and impair its ability to fight respiratory infections. While people who are exposed to lower amounts of ozone can recover quickly, prolonged exposure to ozone can lead to severe damage to the respiratory system.
Apart from humans and pets, ozone can affect plants in indoor environments. Toxic levels of ozone can cause conditions like irregular spots in plants, reddening, darkly pigmented areas, or even total death of the plant. Building materials such as synthetic carpets, foam cushions, furniture covers, plastics, rubber, fabrics, electrical wire coatings, artwork, etc. can also be affected by ozone concentration.
Safety Ways to Use Ozone Generators in the House
With all said about the dangers posed by ozone generators, are there any safe ways ozone machines can be used? The safest way to use ozone generators is in a space that is unoccupied. Ascertain that there are no humans or animals in the house and remove all indoor plants before starting the ozone machine.
In some cases, ozone machines can be safely used at home in low concentrations and safe levels as specified by OSHA or the EPA. This includes lesser requirements like sanitizing the air for breathing, removing cooking odor or to remove cigarette smoke. Such a space can still be occupied while the machine is being used. However, that cannot be done when high ozone concentration is required such as for killing mold in the house. Moreover, experts warn against the use of ozone machines in occupied spaces at any concentration at all.
Other safety precautions to take note of when using an ozone generator is to cover or remove valuable items before switching on the generator. Also, to keep the machine in a usable and safe condition, carry out regular maintenance such as cleaning its collector plate at an interval of 2 – 6 months. Also, avoid running the generator in an environment with high humidity. Moisture can cause arcing inside the ozone machine.
How Long Should You Run An Ozone Generator
The length of time required to run an ozone generator depends on the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, it is usually within 3 to 10 hours depending on the size of the room. If you are disinfecting an entire home, it will take about 30 hours of sustained ozone output to get rid of the air pollutants.
How Long Does it Take for Ozone to Dissipate
Ozone lasts in the air between 30 min to 4 hrs before it dissipates back into oxygen. Higher levels of ozone concentration might take 3 – 4 hours while lower levels can dissipate under 2 hours. As a rule of thumb, it is advised to wait after using an ozone generator for 4hrs before returning to the room. That is after the door might have been opened for the gas to escape. Humans and pets can safely get back into the house after this time. It might be noticed that the Ozone smell still remains for a few days even after the harmful odor might have been removed.
To keep safe, it is advised to use an ozone machine that uses a shutdown timer so that the machine can be pre-set to turn itself off when it has finished its job. If your own machine does not come with time, you should properly cover your mouth and nose before you enter the room to turn it off manually.