As a homeowner, it is important that you take notice of the quality of air inside your home. If ignored, it can lead to a build-up for mold, mildew, dust, and other pollutants. For many, poor indoor air quality can be solved by simply purchasing an air purifier. However, choosing the right air purifier for your home can be tricky. The number one product to avoid is anything that claims to be an ozone air purifier. This type of unit is not effective, and it can even cause severe damage to the health of your family.
How Does an Ozone Air Purifier Work?
For starters, ozone is a gas that is present in our atmosphere. It consists of three oxygen atoms. Two of those atoms make up the oxygen our bodies normally use to breathe, and the third atom makes the molecule unstable. Oxygen molecules want to consist of only two atoms, so the third atom will detach. This solitary oxygen will then bind with another organic molecule in the air and change its chemical structure. The goal of these air purifiers is for the single oxygen atom to bind with pollutants and make them harmless or odorless.
So, what’s the Big Deal?
The BIG DEAL is that ozone causes damage to humans even in small amounts. That single oxygen doesn’t only bind with molecules in the air, but also with molecules in our bodies. This type of oxygen is known as a free radical. A free radical’s ability to adjust the chemical framework of molecules causes severe harm to the human body. According to the EPA, some of the effects of ozone exposure include:
- Chest pain
- Throat irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Respiratory distress
- Can worsen, asthma and other pre-existing respiratory diseases
Do you want your family exposed to these health problems? I would think not. Some of these may be temporary side effects, but with prolonged exposure can become permanent heath complications.
How Manufacturers Fool You
The companies who sell these products will disguise the harmful effects with words like “good ozone.” What they are referring to when they say this is the ozone that is naturally found in the stratosphere. This is a high level of the atmosphere, and the ozone present there is what protects us from the harmful effects of UV exposure. What they don’t mention is that “bad ozone” is the ozone that is found in the lower layers of the atmosphere that we breathe in every day. If it is harmful to breathe in when its outdoors, why would you want this gas inside your home?
Manufacturers also like to distract you with the supposed benefits of ozone purification. They claim that it can kill or remove many air pollutants that are known to be found in the indoor air of homes. The EPA has discredited this claim. After several tests performed on the air in homes that were exposed to ozone, they found that at the levels allowed by public health standards, ozone does not effectively remove pollutants from the air. In fact, in certain tests it actually added to the pollutants by creating other molecules that are harmful to our bodies. It would take much more ozone than our bodies can handle to have any effect on the air quality in our homes.
The only situations where ozone air purifiers should be used are when there are no humans or animals present. Ozone has been used successfully to remove mold and other pollutants after floods or fires when used at levels that exceed the public health standard. But, if you are considering using this process to clean an area, you must make sure that no one is present in the home until the process has been completed and all ozone removed from the area.
What We Recommend
It is better to play it safe and use a non-ozone generating product. There are several safer and more effective products on the market to choose from. Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning offers a full line of Lennox whole house air purifiers and air cleaners. Not one of these products uses ozone to purify the air. Our most efficient unit uses a HEPA filtration system and boasts removal of 99.97% of particles and bio aerosols down to .3 microns. That means that any particle under 1/25,000 of an inch in diameter will be caught by this filtration system! Four Seasons understands how important your family’s health is to you, and healthy living begins with a healthy environment. So, call Four Seasons today for more information and a free estimate on any one of our air purification units!