Understanding the O3 Sanitizer™

O3 or ozone is basically supercharged oxygen. Regular oxygen is O2 and ozone is simply O3. Nature regularly transforms oxygen into ozone through forces such as lightning and ultra-violet light striking the earth. O3 then acts as a natural sanitizer. After a short period of time the ozone reverts back to regular oxygen at ground level.

How We Learn About It
We learn about ozone in two different ways. The first is the protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere that helps to reduce the amount of ultra-violet light that strikes the earth. This layer of O3 is gradually being depleted as a result of specific pollutants such as aerosols and the older refrigerant gases. Steps have been taken to reduce these pollutants, but there is an ongoing concern about protecting the ozone layer.

The second way we learn about O3 is the ground level ozone in polluted cities. Automobiles and industry put out excessive levels of hydrocarbons into the air through exhaust emissions. When ultra-violet (UV) light from the sun strikes hydrocarbons, ozone is created. For millions of years, nature has created ozone by sunlight striking hydrocarbons, emitted from decaying matter, as one way it keeps the earth clean. This is nature’s response to pollution in the air. When the exhaust emissions are high, the O3 levels become high as a response to the hydrocarbons. The level of ozone in some
cities may exceed 200 parts per billion (ppb) on days when pollution is high.

On the other hand, without O3 and UV light the earth would be an odorous place with mold, mildew and viruses running rampant. The forces of nature are designed to keep the outdoors clean and healthy. Unfortunately, there is normally very little ozone in our indoor spaces where we spend nearly all of our time. This is because the buildings where we live and work are designed to shut nature out.

How It Is Used
Ozone is created by man for purification purposes. It is injected in nearly all bottled waters and is widely used in Europe for treating municipal water supplies. O3 is also used for indoor air treatment but it must be employed in a manner that is both safe and effective.

The typical way O3 is used commercially for air treatment is by blasting a high level of ozone into an unoccupied space. For example, if a hotel wants to change a smoking room to a non-smoking room, they use an ozonator such as the LightninAir Industrial Cleaner to pull odors out of the carpet, drapes, bedding, etc. Smoke damage restoration services also use O3 to remove odors.

The FDA has approved O3 for treatment of air and water in food processing plants. Water damage restoration companies treat air with O3 at high levels in unoccupied spaces to get rid of smells as well as mold and mildew. Some restaurants, bars and casinos are now beginning to use ozone at relatively low levels to keep the air smelling fresh and clean at all times.

High Level Use
The O3 Sanitizer may be used to treat unoccupied spaces, including the entire home or office. This is the most effective way to attack microorganisms and reduce strong odors because it allows the O3 to go after pollutants at the source. Ozone has been proven to reduce levels of mold, mildew and other microorganisms. It will also help accelerate the dissipation of chemicals from new carpet, furniture and paint.

Simply close off the problem area or shut the windows and doors in the entire home. Next, set the O3 dial to correspond to the size of the area to be treated. Then leave the space for 1 to 4 hours depending on the severity of odors. Upon return, open the doors and windows to let in fresh air until the O3 smell is gone. Perform this procedure as often as necessary until the odors are removed.

Many users prefer a plug-in timer, like is used on lamps, so that it comes on everyday for a few hours while they are at work and then shuts off a couple of hours before they return home. When they walk in the air smells fresh and clean and the O3 has reverted back to normal O2.

Occupied Spaces
Some users keep the O3 Sanitizer at a relatively low setting while in the home or office. This can hold down microorganism growth while keeping the air smelling fresh and clean. However, caution is advised because O3 levels may exceed those recommended by government agencies. Each home is different so it requires a trial and error process to locate the right setting on the dial.

If you choose to use the O3 Sanitizer in occupied spaces, set the ozonator dial at a modest level initially and let it run for a couple of hours. If you smell ozone when you walk into the room, turn the dial down or off. On the other hand, if you smell household odors, turn the dial slightly up. Repeat the process until you walk into the room and do not smell household odors or ozone—just clean fresh air. Caution is the key to use of the O3 Sanitizer in occupied spaces.

Excessive ozone concentrations can cause mucus membrane or respiratory irritation. Individuals with serious respiratory problems such as emphysema should consult their physician before use. Those with a poor sense of smell should also exercise caution. If O3 is detected when entering a room turn the O3 Sanitizer dial down or off. If a dry throat, cough or watery eyes is experienced ventilate the area and discontinue use.

The level of O3 generated at a particular setting on the dial will vary with humidity, altitude, household contents, level of pollutants in the space and other factors. The average person is able to smell ozone as the room level approaches 20 ppb indoors. The FDA sets an upper level of 50 ppb in continuously occupied spaces for sensitive persons such as the very young, the elderly and the sick. The EPA has set a target level of 80 ppb for outside air in cities, but that is regularly exceeded. A rule of thumb is to turn the Sanitizer dial off or down if the O3 smell is detected.