Too Much Ozone for the Job

There is an occasional issue that we hear about at the offices of the National Ozone Association, and that is over-treatment of house, room, or building during an ozone treatment.  Think of ozone as you might any remediation or cleaning product.  You can use too little, or too much.  Think of cleaning with something as simple as water.  Cleaning a very dirty floor with too little water will make mud.  Use too much water, and you create a flood that will ruin some of the property.

Finding the right treatment pattern for odor problems is critical for an effective job.  And, the process may require more than ozone to do the job right.

When viewing ozone as the singular, miracle cure;
amateurs make the mistake of leaving the ozone generator run too long.  

But, let's get a few things straight.  Cleaning is "Job Number One" and unless ozone is a pretreatment for disaster areas, good practices will insist on a good cleaning, or clean out, of the house or building.  Thinking that an ozone treatment is a stand alone service may be a big mistake.  As good an ozone may be to solve the bothersome odor problem, it is not a shortcut solution.

An example may be trying to solve years of smoking.  If the answer is to run an ozone generator for 8, 12, 24, and 48 hours; there is a flaw in the professional approach.  Smoke causes a film containing hundreds of aromatic chemicals that cling to every surface.  Years of smoking may yellow walls with a sticky coating.  By moving a picture on the wall, you can see a huge difference.  This coating is on the walls, ceiling, carpet curtains, and furniture.  Just take a piece of furniture outside, and smell it after hours in the sun.  The smoke smell will be just as strong.

We think of such jobs as Full Remediation (meaning get rid of goods and but new), Proactive Remediation (meaning intense cleaning followed by a series of remediation treatments, like ozone), or Basic Remediation (a treatment of the area to mitigate the problem as a "Best Efforts" project.  The mistake made by amateurs is that a Basic Remediation will bring things back to near new condition.  

Here's where mistakes are made by amateur ozone applicators.  To compensate for the need to clean and or replace the impacted goods, the option is to "Blast Ozone for Long Periods" hoping to solve the problem by brute force.  So, some people will bring in multiple ozone generators and run them well beyond the eight-hour limit set by the "Best Practices for Ozone Remediation" set by the National Ozone Association.  

Water is a good idea during a cleaning project, but a bucket of water with a soap will do the job rather than using a fire hose.  As the ozone service industry matures, there needs to be a set of standards that are common to all.  These standards have been proven by actual 0n-the-job experience, good science and logical understanding of remediation processes.  

As detailed in the "Best Practices for Ozone Remediation" prolonged ozone applications may have some modest, adverse effects.  Prolonged ozone treatments may also convert ambient gases (known as VOCs) to another form causing the ozone smell to embed with these ambient gases.  Thus, the ozone smell (not the ozone gas) will linger in a room or building for weeks.  Basically, this means the ozone applicator "Over-Cooked" the job.  By adding an aqueous oxidizing treatment after a shorter ozone cycle (2-4 hours) will reduce the time on the job, and improve the overall customer satisfaction.

Best advice to all those hoping to offer professional ozone services is to join NOAI, take the Certified Ozone Technician course, then study and adopt the "Best Practices for Ozone Remediation" so their service is properly applied.

Some services such as death scene cleanup, hoarder home cleanup, drug house cleanup, and mold remediation service may exceed the normal application guideline because the problem is so large and dangerous.  It still helps to know the standards for the industry.