Ozonation – how does it work? The SARS-Cov-2 virus pandemic has caused more and more private individuals and institutions (both public and private) to wonder how best to protect their employees and families from viruses. The pandemic has caused yet another thing, which is that we are paying more and more attention to other potential threats, such as bacteria and fungi. It is common knowledge that regular disinfection protects us very well against various types of microbes. We already know a lot about disinfection, but recently a new method such as ozone treatment has appeared.
What is ozonation?
Ozonation is not a completely new method. It has been used before, but it was mainly used to disinfect hard-to-reach places. Such places are air-conditioning systems, both in cars and indoors. Ozone treatment was mainly used to get rid of bacteria and fungi that grow very well in air conditioning, because they have ideal conditions for multiplication there (i.e. good humidity and relatively stable temperature). So is it possible to ozone, for example, rooms or disinfect toys and other objects with ozone?
What is ozone?
Ozone is the allotropic form of oxygen. Oxygen at our high altitudes (where humans live) exists in a diatomic form. It is a gas that is both harmless and necessary for humans and animals. However, all this applies to its diatomic form. Oxygen, even in the diatomic form, is an element with oxidizing properties, nevertheless, as mentioned, it is essential for human life. Ozone is also oxygen, but in the form of three-atom particles. The tri-atomic form of oxygen is an extremely active chemical and has very strong oxidizing properties. For this reason, it is highly toxic to living organisms, and in higher concentrations is also toxic to humans.
There is very little ozone at our geographic heights, and its presence is due to human activity or lightning.There is a lot of ozone in the upper atmosphere because cosmic radiation is very high there, and ozone is formed from the interaction of radiation with oxygen. Ozone is a very unstable substance, therefore at higher altitudes, its decomposition is balanced by production as a result of the action of cosmic rays. There is practically no ozone at the surface of the earth, because it is naturally impossible to form, and if it is present, it quickly breaks down into a safe form.
Ozonation – how does it work?
Once we know what ozone is, we can move on to how it works against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Since ozone is a very active oxygen molecule, it chemically reacts very quickly with all sorts of other organic compounds. Thanks to these properties, it perfectly copes with viruses, because any contact of ozone with the virus causes the breakdown of its lipid envelope, which means its complete disintegration. In other words, the virus has no way of surviving in an environment where there is ozone.
The situation is similar with bacteria and fungi, although in the case of bacteria, and especially fungi, the exposure time of ozone must be slightly longer, because they are more complex organisms. Ozone is a gas, so it reaches all nooks and crannies, effectively disinfecting them.After disinfection with ozone, it decomposes very quickly into a safe form of oxygen and is no longer toxic to humans. It is worth mentioning here that for this type of situation to occur, we must turn off the device that produces ozone, i.e. the ozonator.
How to disinfect the room?
Recently, a lot of devices called ozonators have appeared on the market. As we can easily guess, they are used to ozone the premises. If we want to carry out ozonation ourselves, it is of course possible, but we must do it in the right way. First of all, we must have an ozonator or ozone generators that are adapted to the volume of the room we disinfect. Before we even start ozonation, we must seal the entire room, including closing the windows and, for example, sealing the ventilation grids, because these places will allow us to escape ozone and we will not be able to obtain the appropriate concentration of ozone for disinfection.
We must remember to install a fan near the ozonator, which will distribute ozone throughout the room.This gas is naturally heavier than air and without a fan, it will accumulate only near the floor. We must also remember that we should have an ozone sensor that will show us that we have already reached the required ozone concentration in a given room. We also need to properly protect ourselves. The protection includes, first of all, a protective suit and a protective mask with a filter dedicated to ozone.