Using an ozone generator is an effective means of treating smoke damaged drapes, mattresses, upholstered furniture and other fabric surfaces. However, it is essential that homeowners understand the safe and proper use of an ozone generator, if they desire to undertake the job themselves. Below is more information on how to correctly and safely use an ozone generator to combat smoke odors.
How Ozone Works
Ozone is a special molecule of oxygen, and it is both unstable and highly reactive. Ozone possesses a strong odor that can irritate the respiratory tract of humans and animals alike. However, due to its molecular instability, ozone also quickly dissipates and leaves no trace behind.
What makes ozone so potent as a weapon against noxious odors is its ability to bind with other molecules. Just as ordinary oxygen serves as an oxidizer during combustion, ozone fulfills a similar role when it combines to "burn" away smoke particles.
What You Should Know about Ozone Safety
When used properly, ozone is safe and effective. However, misuse can cause negative health effects that range from mild to moderately severe. Below are several safety practices to keep in mind if you choose to use ozone:
Stay out of areas where ozone is being generated - Since ozone is often generated in confined spaces, overexposure can occur if you enter such spaces. Brief exposure won't harm most people, but don't enter confined areas until they have been well-ventilated and the ozone has dissipated.
Keep away from ozone if you have asthma - Asthma is an easily aggravated medical condition for some persons, and ozone can trigger a reaction that can compromise breathing in asthmatic individuals. That is why it is best to avoid using ozone generators and steer well clear of ozone-saturated areas if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Remove pets from areas containing ozone - Ozone isn't immediately harmful to most pets, but high concentrations can injure or kill very small animals. To protect your pets, remove them from the vicinity where ozone is being utilized. As with people, allow ozone to dissipate from an area before permitting pets to enter.
Before you use an ozone generator, also be sure to read any documentation about the safe operation of your particular unit. Be sure to heed safety warnings about the appliance, including those that reference electrical safety and working around water or other hazardous conditions.
How to Properly Use Ozone to Eliminate Odors
Using ozone to eliminate odors isn't difficult, but it helps to know what to do ahead of time. Below are a few simple steps to take that will maximize your use of ozone.
1. Remove as Much of the Odor-Causing Substance as Possible
Ozone is powerful, but it won't eliminate smells if too much of an odor-causing substance is still present. Keep in mind that ozone can only get rid of offensive odors one molecule at a time; the more molecules are present, the longer it will take to remove all the bad smell from an area.
That means you should invest time and energy in cleaning up smoke particles before using the ozone generator. The more noxious substances you can remove by hand, the less ozone you will need to obtain the results you desire.
2. Isolate the Affected Area
Once the affected materials have been thoroughly cleaned, the next step is to isolate the surrounding area as much as possible. This will enable the ozone to build to necessary concentrations for effective cleaning.
You can isolate a room, for example, by shutting all air vents leading into and out of the room. If necessary, cover vent grilles with plastic wrap and packing tape to form an airtight seal. In addition, be sure all windows are completely closed and use rolled towels to block the spaces beneath doors.
3. Ensure Good Air Circulation Exists Inside the Room
After closing off the space you wish to saturate with ozone, you will want to ensure the air inside the room, or other enclosed area, is able to freely circulate. Ozone tends to hug the floor if left undisturbed, and it may not be able to reach affected drapes, tops of furniture or other smoke-damaged items unless you encourage air circulation.
Circulation can be facilitated with blowers and household fans. Ceiling fans can also help, but you will want to set their rotation direction to a 'wintertime' setting; this will cause the blades to pull ozone upward toward the ceiling as opposed to blowing it downward toward the floor.
If dealing with smoke-damaged fabrics seems outside of your realm of comfort, talk to a professional at a place like FRSTeam by DKS Dry Cleaning Restoration.