Advertising can be powerful. You may have heard manufacturers describe ozone generators as “natural odor removers” that work “the way nature intended.” But are these claims misleading? Find out more about ozone air purifiers in this article to help you decide what is best for you and your family.
What is ozone?
As you may know, ozone is a gas. Ozone molecules have three oxygen atoms (O3), unlike the oxygen in the air that gives life to the planet (O2). Ozone is powerful because the extra oxygen atom can easily escape and attach to other substances. This highly reactive quality can potentially alter the chemical composition of some substances in the air and affect our cells if we breathe it in.
What are ozone generators?
Ozone Generators, also referred to as ozone machines, are ozone-generating devices that intentionally produce ozone gas. When sold as air purifiers to be used in indoor occupied spaces, they are marketed to be safe and effective (though these claims are generally false). This article discusses devices that produce ozone on purpose and not as a byproduct. Ionizers and electrostatic precipitators end up producing ozone as a byproduct as a result of their internal mechanisms.
You may have heard about ionizers. They used to be quite popular and were often used in homes to clean the air and eliminate odors. However, in the spring of 2005, Consumer Reports Magazine exposed the units as potentially doing more harm than good–it was found that several of these devices could produce harmful levels of ozone. Though ozone is a byproduct of these ionizers and tends to be produced at a lower level than ozone generators, the federal government began a stricter regulation process for any air purifier that produces ozone, whether intentionally or as a byproduct.
No federal agency has approved the use of ozone generators in occupied spaces, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has very strict regulations for air purifiers sold in California to make sure that harmful ozone levels are not being produced.
How do ozone generators work?
220V Ozone Generators produce ozone by breaking apart oxygen (O2) molecules into single atoms, which then attach to other oxygen molecules in the air to form ozone (O3). They accomplish this in one of two ways, according to the International Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants (InterNACHI).
Ozone generators work by:
Silent corona discharge: These machines use the electric discharge to produce ozone by splitting the normal oxygen molecules in the air into single atoms. These atoms then attach to other O2 molecules in the air to form ozone (O3).
Ultraviolet radiation: This process of ozone generation is similar to how the sun’s ultraviolet radiation splits O2 to form individual oxygen atoms. According to InterNACHI, this process is considered to be less efficient than corona discharge.
Generac states that generators less than and equal to 600 volts are medium-voltage and generators greater than 600 volts are considered High Voltage Generators. Generators producing 4160 volts are common in many industries for large motors that require high voltage. The backup generator supplies voltage to an individual grid. Commonly stocked generator voltages are 4160 VAC, 480 VAC, 12,470 VAC, and 13,800 VAC, When power fails to an industrial facility, the backup generator supplies power to distribution and control panels for continued operations. The higher voltages from the generator are stepped down with transformers. The below content supplies information on each category of information.