Well, that is certainly the question we are being asked about most this week by existing customers and potential ones alike. This is exactly the type of question we love as it just goes to prove that people are now more aware than ever before about the importance of good air quality inside their homes. Below is our simple guide to understanding ozone and the answer to the question – Do air purifiers add harmful ozone to your home?
What is ozone?
Ozone (O3) can occur naturally, or be man made. It is a highly reactive form of oxygen which is a pale blue toxic gas and has a strong odour akin to chlorine.
Is it good or bad?
When it occurs high up in the atmosphere then it is a good thing as this layer of ozone helps prevent harmful ultraviolet light from reaching and damaging the earths surface.
When it occurs at ground level in high enough concentration it becomes a health hazard and can cause serious respiratory issues. Although ozone levels inside the home tend to be lower than those outside, even long term exposure to lower indoor levels can be dangerous, especially if you or someone you love already has an existing condition like Asthma, COPD, Emphysema or Bronchitis.
What are the most common causes of ground level ozone?
Outdoors, the biggest culprits are exhaust fumes from the cars we drive and certain industrial processes. Indoors, the ozone levels naturally fluctuate with the rise and fall of outdoor levels, simply because we are literally bringing it in with us as we enter our home and when we open our windows for ventilation. Indoor ozone is also increased however by everyday household items such as printers, copiers, fax machines and even hairdryers – and yes – some types of air purifiers.
So, do ALL air purifiers add harmful ozone to indoor air?
No, not all air purifiers add ozone to a room, but the harsh reality is that most will add at least ‘some’. At worst some air purifier manufacturers actually suggest that the ozone their air purifiers produce will help to neutralize harmful VOC’s ( Volatile Organic Compounds ) and inhibit the spread of viruses, bacteria and mould. These tend to be clearly advertised as ‘Ozone Generators’ and should be avoided ( except in certain controlled environments where the ozone output levels are strictly monitored and humans are not present during use ). The problem with ozone generators is that in order for them to actually be in any way effective in the neutralization of VOC’s, Viruses and Bacteria, they would have to produce ozone in quantities way in excess of that which has been deemed safe to breathe by the EPA ( Environmental Protection Agency ).
So how can I be sure that the air purifier I buy does not add harmful ozone?
Currently there are no rules in the UK which prevent a manufacturer selling an air purifier which emits ozone, so you need to be choosy.
Firstly, do not buy any air purifier that is openly advertised as an ‘Ozone Generator. Secondly, if the air purifier you are considering purchasing does not openly state that it is ozone friendly or in compliance with *ARB ( Air Resource Board ) certification, then check with the retailer or manufacturer and simply ask the question. Knowledgeable retailers will know the answer immediately. Unfortunately there are many household name manufacturers supplying air purifiers in the UK today which are simply either untested, or which may have been tested and the manufacturers have chosen not to divulge the results. Sadly, as yet this does not preclude them from being sold to unwitting consumers, and often at inflated prices. Note, a high price is not necessarily an indication of an air purifiers genuine performance or its lack of ozone production.
*The California Air Resource Board (ARB) certification program is the most stringent safety requirement in the world for testing air purifiers and ensuring their safety for use in the home or workplace.
Which are the ‘safest’ air purifier brands and models currently available in the UK?
Due to the lack of publicly available information provided by manufacturers it is not possible to make a definitive list here. There may well be air purifiers in the marketplace which produce no discernible ozone but have not actually advertised the fact. However, we do feel it is important that those manufacturers who have been open enough to have their equipment submitted to testing and proven to be perfectly safe for home use should be listed to assist the consumer in making an informed and choice.
All the manufacturers in the above list are known to have been tested and certified as meeting or exceeding the most stringent requirements available for air purifier ozone emission and can safely be considered as ozone friendly and suitable for home use.
So there you have it, the answer to the original question ‘Do air purifiers add harmful ozone to your home?’ is basically Many do, some don’t – so choose wisely.
If you have any questions relating to this article, or simply would like assistance in choosing a suitable air purifier for your own use please call us 01207 507444 and we will be delighted to point you in the right direction.