Ionizers, otherwise known as ionic air purifiers, are an option for people that are looking for ways to purify their indoor air. Ionizers are quite different from filtration purifiers that use particulate or carbon filters.
Ionizers are invisible molecules that have an electrical charge. They release negative ions into the air and attach them to tiny air particles.
This creates an electrical charge and causes the particles to attach to themselves, making them too heavy to float. Hence, the particles drop on surfaces within the room.
By dropping the particles on places like floors, tabletops, curtains, walls, ceilings, carpets and rugs, and (in some cases) metal collector plates where available in the device.
From here, the particles can be wiped off using a piece of cloth or dust brush. However, you may have noticed a smell at some point while running your ionizer and you’re wondering why or where it’s coming from. This may or may not be normal and we’ll tell you all about it shortly.
What Does an Ozone Machine Smell Like?
Ozone, on its own, doesn’t have a bad smell. Many people have described the smell of ozone as fresh or similar to the natural air in the atmosphere. Others have said ozone smells like rain.
Whatever the case, one thing to note is that ozone has a pretty strong aroma and this must explain why it is easy to identify in the atmosphere. The etymology of the word is traced to the Greek verb “ozein”, which is translated as “smell”.
This is why humans can easily detect its distinctive smell even when only small amounts of the chemical are in the air.
However, many ozone machines tend to give off a metallic smell, while others can present the smell of burning wire. Bottom line is that you may not get the same smell all the time and all ozone machines will probably not smell the smell.
Other types of smells to watch out for are; the smell of chlorine, a sweet and pungent smell, the smell of an electric spark, a clean smell, and other related smells you can think of.
The benefits of knowing what ozone smells like are numerous. For starters, it can help you detect if there’s ozone in the air and in what quantity.
Ozone in high concentrations can pose a high risk to humans, so it’s important that you know what it smells like so that you can take the right action.
Why Does an Ionizer Smell?
An ionizer has its own natural smell, which is the smell of ozone. However, this doesn’t make it safe.
If an ionizer begins to smell differently from the known metallic, burning wire, sweet and pungent, chlorine, and electric spark smell, it could simply mean that it is interacting with and amplifying the odors of the particles and gases it is cleansing in the room.
Pine cleaner and bleach are two good examples of this. A different odor can also emerge when two or more charged particles align effectively. The clumping together makes them heavier and they fall to the ground, hence becoming more highly concentrated.
The smell from an ionizer may also be more noticed if the unit is new and is being run for the first few times. In high concentrations, you may be detecting a leak and this is a dangerous situation.
You should turn off the machine and air out the room immediately while waiting in a different part of the house or outside.
Can You Be in A House with An Ozone Machine?
You shouldn’t be in the same room with a running ozone machine. Also, you shouldn’t run the machine for 24 hours daily. The best way to use an ozone machine is to turn it on and shut the doors and windows of the room while you stay in a distant room in the house.
After a few hours, go back to the room and turn it off. You should open the doors and windows at this time to air out the room.
So, if you’re running the ozone in a closed-off room within the house, you could stay in another room within the same house. But, if it’s a whole-house machine, you may have to leave the house for a while.
Ozone machines, like the Airthereal MA5000 Ozone Generator, tend to release negative ions (ozone) to clean up indoor air, and when inhaled in large quantities can lead to adverse effects such as respiratory disorders including pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis, lung scarring, and immune system deficiency.
How Do You Get Rid of Ozone Smell?
Now that you know what ozone smells like and that it is bad for your health, the next line of action would be to get rid of the smell. The ozone smell can be quite pungent so it might take a while to fully dissipate even after you turn off the machine.
There are several studies that have shown that short-term exposure (up to 8 hours) can affect you, leading to wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, throat/lung irritation, chest tightness, and deep breath pain.
Thankfully, there are a few options available for effectively getting rid of the ozone smell. One of the most practical things you can do to remove ozone and its smell in your home is to introduce airflow and ventilation.
We’ll explore all options available below in detail.
1. Use a HEPA filter
A True HEPA filter, such as the Germ Guardian 3-in-1 unit, is one of the most trusted ways to remove fine particles in the air, including negative ions floating around the room.
By removing ozone, you’re also consciously getting rid of the high concentrations causing the strong smell.
You may also try out the Levoit H13 True HEPA filter Air Purifier.
2. Deploy a carbon filter
While the regular HEPA filter will remove the floating ozone in the air, a carbon filter should be deployed to remove the smell.
This is the way to go because carbon filters, also known as charcoal filters, are designed to remove VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the air, and ozone is a VOC.
The best option is to use an air purifier that has a combination of True HEPA filter and a carbon filter, so you don’t have two different filters running simultaneously.
A good example is the Levoit unit already mentioned above.
3. Air out your home
This is, perhaps, the simplest way to get rid of the ozone smell, but it is also the method that takes control away from you.
Leaving your doors and windows open will certainly let out the ozone smell, but it may also introduce some particles and unwanted pollutants into your home.
Nonetheless, airing out your home for a few hours will help remove ozone smells from your home.
It is now clear that ionizers smell because they’re naturally expected to smell. The smell of ozone can be pleasant, but don’t let that deceive you, it can be very toxic too.
You must try as much as possible to limit exposure to ozone, and when you notice a high concentration of ozone in the air, steps must be taken to protect yourself and your household.
Beyond that, you must get rid of the smell before that room or space can be inhabited again. Be sure to follow all the guidelines provided here and you shouldn’t have a problem.