For people who are new to using air cleaning systems, it can be difficult to figure out which technologies are the most effective. As a result, there’s often some confusion about various types of air cleaners. Two technologies people new to this field sometimes confound are ozone generators and air purifiers. Here’s what you should know about ozone generators vs. air purifiers as a consumer.
The Quick View
To get the most important part out of the way early, we’d like to quickly state that there’s a massive difference between air purifiers and ozone generators. Air purifiers are devices that use various filtration mechanisms to remove impurities from the air. While some purifiers work better than others, the basic principle of filtering contaminants out of the air using specialized filter media is both effective and scientifically sound.
Ozone generators, on the other hand, have questionable effectiveness and are likely harmful to human health. Although beneficial for filtering out the sun’s rays, ozone is quite dangerous when breathed in. Ozone generator manufacturers suggest that ozone can react with indoor air pollutants, effectively neutralizing them. The truth, though, is that these reactions take a long time to occur. In the meantime, ozone generators expose users to a harmful gas that can have severe long-term health effects. In fact, misrepresentation of ozone generators’ effectiveness is such a large problem that the EPA maintains an informational page detailing their lack of efficacy and potential health risks.
Ozone Generators vs. Air Purifiers
Ozone generators intentionally create ozone gas, usually by ionizing oxygen molecules already present in air in order to promote their combination into triatomic O3, commonly referred to as ozone. Manufacturers of these devices claim that ozone present in the air can react with common pollutants and render them neutral.
Air purifiers, on the other hand, use some kind of filter to capture contaminants. The two most common filter types are HEPA, which captures tiny, solid particles, and activated carbon, which can trap gaseous contaminants like VOCs. Many air purifiers combine more than one type of filter, allowing them to capture multiple classes of contaminants. These devices have been proven effective for removing many common impurities in indoor air.
Why Don’t Ozone Generators Work?
On paper, ozone generators seem like a good idea. Ozone reacts with many types of contaminants, and it is even used commercially to purifier water and air in unoccupied spaces. The problem, however, is that the concentrations of ozone required to achieve any kind of air cleaning usually exceed the safe limits for ozone exposure. In other words, an ozone generator must produced a dangerously high level of ozone before it can do much about other air pollutants.
It’s also extremely difficult to control exposure levels when using an ozone generator. While some manufacturers claim that their ozone generators operate within safe levels, the EPA cautions consumers against using ozone generators for air cleaning in occupied spaces.
How Harmful Is Ozone to Human Health?
Ozone is a respiratory irritant. Common symptoms of ozone exposure include headaches, coughing and shortness of breath. With prolonged exposure, risk of developing asthma increases. While the effects of ozone depend on the level and duration of exposure, inhaling the gas in high concentrations is considered dangerous.
As you can tell, it’s important to choose the right air cleaning technology when you decide to clean up your home air. We hope this explanation of ozone generators vs. air purifiers has helped to dispel some of the myths surrounding the purported benefits of ozone in the home. If you’re interested in using a safe, effective air cleaning solution, feel free to browse our selection of high-quality home air purifiers.
Have questions? We’re here to help! Feel free to contact us for answers and personalized product recommendations based on your unique needs.