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View Full Version : Air ionisers: do they work?


edthedoc
10th February 2003, 01:38 PM
I'm not too bothered about the claims that air ionisers make you feel better/have fewer headaches etc. but do they work to reduce local air pollution i.e. smoke, smells etc?

MRC_Hans
11th February 2003, 02:52 AM
I dont know the make-up of the particular gadgets you are thinking about, but ionizers can be used fro the following:

Reduce electrostatic charges; this might reduce headaches etc. Otherwise its ofte used in electronic production facilities to reduce the risk of damage from ESD (ElectroStatic Discharge).

Filter paricles from air. This includes microscopic particles, like those in smoke. Such a function will require for the air to be passed through the device.

Cheers, Hans

edthedoc
11th February 2003, 03:43 AM
So it probably wouldn't work for bad smells.

MRC_Hans
11th February 2003, 03:56 AM
Depends on what the smell comes from. If the smell is borne on particles (and it often is) it will work. If it is borne on fumes, like solvents or sulphide, or gasses, it wont work well. An effective electrostatic filter will produce some ozone.

Hans

sadluxation
11th February 2003, 01:15 PM
I worked in a pharmacy for 3 years, and Air Ionizers where the most likely gadget to be returned. Not only do they produce ozone, they also tended to make the nearest wall black with dust and soot from the air.
Most likely due to the walls being ionized and air ions being attracted to the wall.

So be warned!!!

Underemployed
11th February 2003, 02:32 PM
Years ago I was bought one of these devices to combat pollen. As any hayfever sufferer knows, almost NOTHING will get rid of those fiendishly designed particles. It did provide minutes of amusement due its 'electric shock' trick - when you put a fingertip next to one of the ionising points, you could see a little blue arc connecting finger to machine. Being little boys, we smelled our fingers . They had a distinctive odour after being 'ionised' in this way which I could not liken to anything else, although chlorine reminds me of it.

It did nothing for hayfever though.

CSSMariner
11th February 2003, 05:35 PM
Claims of manufacturers/vendors of air "Ionizers" are by and large BS and claptrap. The only thing they can do is cause dust particles to drop from the air, and by imparting a charge on some particles as they pass between the plates cause them to cling thereto.

What the manufacturers and/or vendors do not tell you is they also produce ozone which is the real and only reason they eliminate odors. Ozone oxidizes the organic molecules that are responsible for transporting odors to ones olfactory senses, and reduces them eventually to CO2 and water vapor that have no intrinsic odor that we can detect.

As the plates or electrodes become loaded with particles and dust, they eventually begin to arc, and that is where the ozone is produced, exactly in the same manner as lighting produces ozone. Ozone is what one smells when an arc forms between ones finger and the high frequency plates.

Ozone is very effective as an odor control agent. How do I know? I have designed and manufactured ozone systems for ten years, and have had one operating on my central air down here in Plantation, FL for seven years. We have six Spaniel housedogs, and the ozone system is what makes and keeps the home livable. Best of all, we never have colds or flu.

Have a look at our web site, www.deltamarineozone.com, and read a little about ozone and its many uses. Stay away from the so-called Sharper Image "Ionic Breeze." The amount of ozone it produces is unregulated, and varies according to the service the unit receives, poor cleaning, more ozone. We have over two thousand ozone systems and/or devices in the field, and according to our customers, they do the job we design them to do. We even have a system operating on board an EPA vessel, OSV Peter W. Anderson, dealing with some bad odor problems the 160 footer had. The EPA web site will tell you that ozone is not effective as an odor control agent, but the folks on board the EPA boat will tell you otherwise.

“Ionizer" BS
"Ozonator" Effective and hard science.

MRC_Hans
12th February 2003, 04:22 AM
CSSmariner: Of course! Thats why they have some effect on odors: Ozone. Thanks for that insight. Unfortunaltly, ozone is not exactly considered healthy if its in the air you breathe.

Hans

CSSMariner
12th February 2003, 06:31 AM
Au Contraire;

Ozone in low concentrations is not harmful at all, and in fact my bride and I have breathed it every day for the past seven years in our home, and for the past ten years in the business. We are surronuded, literally, by ozone. Whenever the air handler for our home or business central air system is operating, either in cooling, heating, or just fan mode, ozone is being injected into the return air stream and therefore mixed with all the air.

In fact ozone in low concentrations is quite beneficial to ones health. We share our home with six Spaniels, and had a Lovebird that lived to the ripe old age of 9, the last 7 of which were spent in the “unhealthful” air of our home. The level of toxicity for ozone is two percent by volume or weight in air; however, ozone is effective in the less than one half part per ten million, or .00000005 parts in air, which is 8 orders of magnitude below that level listed as toxic.

Long before ozone reaches anywhere near the level at which it is considered to be harmful, one cannot possibly remain the in area or room. As a test, we pumped a room up to 1.0 PPM and the irritation of our eyes and nose drove us outside. The first aid procedure for over exposure to ozone is “Removal to areas of lower concentration.” The first symptom of overexposure to ozone is a headache, not incapacitation and death as is the case with overexposure to chlorine. We even use it in our swimming pool, and it is brilliant. No chlorine of bromine, period.

OSHA lists the level of concentration for a 24-hour period of exposure to .1 PPM, and 8-hour at .05 PPM. The US Navy limit is .1 PPM in submarines. Los Angeles issues a “Number 2 Smog Alert” at 1.0 PPM. “Number 3 Smog Alert” a 1.5PPM. In the entire history that ozone has been artificially produced by man, and applied for a vast array of uses, there has not been one documented injury directly attributed to ozone, and certainly no deaths. Can the same be said about chlorine? Hardly.

Laser printers and all copiers since the early electrostatic units have produced ozone as a by product of the way they operate. I have yet to see employees or customers being haules out of a KINKO’S. We have, over the past decade installed over two thousand of our Chem-Free systems in the marine and maritimes trades industry, a large part of which are injecting ozone into AC air handlers on yachts. Many of the owners of the yachts have also purchased units for their homes when they saw how great and effective they were on board their yachts. We have yet to experience the ozone-caused death of a customer.

Trust me, you breathe ozone every day unless you live underground with filtered air and no laser printers, CRTs, and many of the modern day conveniences. Ozone is the final by product of photochemical smog in cities, and along with UV energy from the Sun is responsible for the cracks in your wiper blades and tires. You cannot possibly escape ozone in modern day life in America, and indeed much of the world.

PS Why do the manufacturers of "Ionizers" stay away from the ozone word? Simple, it avoids the controversy associated with ozone that has been created by and large by the chemical manufacturers who do not want competition from an easily produced product that needs only oxygen and electricity to be generated by anyone. Ozone is O3, or a tri-atomic allotrope of oxygen produced naturally by solar UV energy and lightning.

MRC_Hans
12th February 2003, 06:43 AM
Mmm, well, as a former friend of mine said: "There are no dangerous substances, just harmful doses." (The reason he is a former friend is that he got a harmful dose of parked truck while driving home one late night on his motor-bike :( ).

Where I live, we have had a lot of fuss about ozone emission from printers and copiers, but it may of course be an example of over-zealous environmentalism. Wouldn't be the first time, heheh.

Hans

CSSMariner
12th February 2003, 06:54 AM
[i]
Where I live, we have had a lot of fuss about ozone emission from printers and copiers, but it may of course be an example of over-zealous environmentalism. Wouldn't be the first time, heheh.

Hans [/B]

A little bit of information is indeed a dangerous thing. "Overdose of parked truck." Serious stuff that. I was almost killed by an overdose of a woman rushing to work in her car who did not see me on my bicycle one morning.

edthedoc
12th February 2003, 08:01 AM
I think I'll give one a go: there's a bad "dead" smell coming from below a cupboard in one of my bedrooms. I think it is a deceased mouse but I physically can't get to it (it's below a large water storage tank). The smell will probably go over time but using an ioniser as an O3 generator sounds like a good idea if it will help break down organic compounds. Also, because I can site it in the cupboard the O3 concentrations should be quite good there but also low in the room itself.

I'll keep you posted...

(yes I know the smell will go over time as the mouse remains dry out so I'll probably end up claiming that it worked even though it was just temporal coincidence, but I'll do anything to stop the horrible smell)

Supercharts
12th February 2003, 10:19 AM
I am a heavy smoker.
About 3 years ago my wife bought me a Sharper Image Ionic Breeze for my den - the only room I smoke in.
Did it get rid of the cigarette smell? Oh yes!!! I had to clean it every two weeks when it started to arc because of the build up on the 'panels' but that is minor.
However I'm now on my 3d Ionic Breeze.
The unit failed after a year (caught fire, actually) so I brought it back to the Sharper Image and they gave me a new one, no charge. That unit then failed about 2 months ago and again the Sharper Image gave me a new unit no charge. The latest unit comes with additional instructions on cleaning - when you remove the panels you have to tip the unit upsidedown two times to let some stuff fall out. And now they include a video tape to show you how to clean it and a Scotch Brite cloth to clean the panels.

The only bad thing about the unit is when I use my SW Radio. [Ten-Tec] When the unit is on I got a bzzz sound on all bands. I unplug it and the noise goes away.
I let the Ionic Breeze run all of the time. In the morning I open the door to my den and can really notice the ozone.
HTH

CSSMariner
12th February 2003, 12:55 PM
Originally posted by edthedoc
I think I'll give one a go: there's a bad "dead" smell coming from below a cupboard in one of my bedrooms. I think it is a deceased mouse but I physically can't get to it (it's below a large water storage tank). The smell will probably go over time but using an ioniser as an O3 generator sounds like a good idea if it will help break down organic compounds. Also, because I can site it in the cupboard the O3 concentrations should be quite good there but also low in the room itself.

I'll keep you posted...

(yes I know the smell will go over time as the mouse remains dry out so I'll probably end up claiming that it worked even though it was just temporal coincidence, but I'll do anything to stop the horrible smell)

We have rented units to deal with rotting rats, squirrels, etc. Ozone will very handily eliminate such odors, and in fact all organic odors including tobacco smoke, body odor, urine, feces, and we have done it all and more over the past ten years. We also deal with diesel fuel odors in boats and yachts, and even larger ships. They call me "The man from ozone," "The man from the ozone," and even "Dr. Ozone." But that's OK as long as they are buying equipment they can call me a lot of things, just send in the cash.

CSSMariner
12th February 2003, 12:57 PM
[i]
The only bad thing about the unit is when I use my SW Radio. [Ten-Tec] When the unit is on I got a bzzz sound on all bands. I unplug it and the noise goes away.
I let the Ionic Breeze run all of the time. In the morning I open the door to my den and can really notice the ozone.
HTH [/B]

That's the white noise from the high voltage arcing, and the ozone is from the same arcing. They sell a bunch of those things by staying away from the "ozone" word.

roger
12th February 2003, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by CSSMariner
We have rented units to deal with rotting rats, squirrels, etc. Ozone will very handily eliminate such odors, and in fact all organic odors including tobacco smoke, body odor, urine, feces, and we have done it all and more over the past ten years
I'm not trying to squelch your business, but wouldn't a simple bag of charcoal briquettes do the job? That's what my sister used when she bought a used car w/ a bad smell.

(it's an honest question, I have no idea of the smell stemming abilities of ozone vs charcoal).

roger

polemos
12th February 2003, 06:23 PM
"We are surronuded, literally, by ozone."

O_o

CSSMariner
13th February 2003, 02:46 AM
Originally posted by roger

I'm not trying to squelch your business, but wouldn't a simple bag of charcoal briquettes do the job? That's what my sister used when she bought a used car w/ a bad smell.

(it's an honest question, I have no idea of the smell stemming abilities of ozone vs charcoal).

roger

Charcoal will work for a while in such limited spaces as a car, but it is rather impractical to take that approach for a yacht, ship, hotel, or a home. Charcoal works by locking the odor molecules onto its surface, and when the surface is used up it is necessary to heat the charcoal to drive the molecules off, or replace it.

There are charcoal canisters available for the vent lines from sewage holding tanks, commonly called "Black water tanks" on yachts that do work, for a while. Then the moisture turns the granules into a solid mass that acts like a restrictor valve in the line. We have customers who have tossed the charcoal junk after installing one of our ozone units.

I am not worried in the least about charcoal "squelching" my business, but thanks for your concern in any case.

CSSMariner
13th February 2003, 02:52 AM
Originally posted by polemos
"We are surronuded, literally, by ozone."

O_o

Correct in as far as that goes. However, the largest concentration is in the upper atmosphere, much to the benefit of all life forms on the Earth's surface. Ozone prevents the very deadly solar UV radiation from reaching all the way through the atmosphere where it will most certainly kill everything if it does. That is the reason why it was a stupid idea that the lunar astronauts who walked on the Moon's surface may return home with bacteria on their boots. The total lack of an atmosphere on the Moon allows the full UV spectrum to bathe the surface and would have killed anything that was ever there, if there were ever any bacteria on the moon in the first place, which is doubtful at the minimum end and ridiculous at the most.

polemos
13th February 2003, 01:36 PM
Actually, I was just noticing how funny the typo is.

Just what kind of "business" you got going there? ;)

CSSMariner
13th February 2003, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by polemos
Actually, I was just noticing how funny the typo is.

Just what kind of "business" you got going there? ;)

HA! I missed the typo entirely. My fingers were doing the walking and my brain was doing the talking, but not to my fingers obviously.

I am in fact in the ozone business. Back in the string there was a listing of our web site, www.deltamarineozone.com.

You can read all about it there.

Cheers,

Florida Ken, soon to be;
Texas Ken

subgenius
13th February 2003, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by MRC_Hans
(The reason he is a former friend is that he got a harmful dose of parked truck while driving home one late night on his motor-bike :( ).
Hans
Amazing prose. "A harmful dose of parked truck."

SortingItAllOut
13th February 2003, 09:52 PM
Originally posted by CSSMariner


Charcoal will work for a while in such limited spaces as a car, but it is rather impractical to take that approach for a yacht, ship, hotel, or a home. Charcoal works by locking the odor molecules onto its surface, and when the surface is used up it is necessary to heat the charcoal to drive the molecules off, or replace it.

There are charcoal canisters available for the vent lines from sewage holding tanks, commonly called "Black water tanks" on yachts that do work, for a while. Then the moisture turns the granules into a solid mass that acts like a restrictor valve in the line. We have customers who have tossed the charcoal junk after installing one of our ozone units.

I am not worried in the least about charcoal "squelching" my business, but thanks for your concern in any case.

Is this the same idea with the water filters pitchers that use a charcoal canister? Am I correct in the notion that the charcoal traps certain things but lets others through? For example, we tried using one on chlorinated water and it didn't remove the chlorine smell/taste - living on well water, I've become keenly aware of the smell of "city water".

Is there something to do to get rid of that smell? (Other than forking over $$ for naive ...er... evian water?)

Take care,
Sort:)

CSSMariner
14th February 2003, 04:52 AM
A good and well-designed charcoal filter will remove chlorine, but the little ones that go on the tap are normally not very good or large enough to do the job. I would consider one under the sink, or even better, a large one at the point of entry or POE. If its an apartment, that may be a problem of course. When an under sink reverse osmosis or RO system is installed, (available from Sears) a charcoal filter is always used to remove chlorine as it will destroy the RO membrane.

If there is a lot of chlorine in the water because of the poor quality source water used by the city, it may take two in series, but a good charcoal filter should do the trick. Here's a tip. Call the city and request a copy of the report they are required to file with the feds. That will tell you a lot.

Here in Plantation, FL, the entire city is supplied with well water processed through two massive RO systems, so the water quality is great. Since it starts out as very pure RO water, only a small amount of chlorine is injected to maintain that purity all the way down the pipe to the last customer. That is the ideal role for chlorine, using it only as required for its "residual" disinfection abilities. In that role, there is very little noticeable taste.

We are moving to rural Texas by April, and while there last month looking at the property we tried water from the well, which is over a hundred feet deep. The water was incredibly good and I cannot wait to get there for that and several other reasons like horses and quiet. However, I am also adding one of our ozone-based POE water treatment systems just in case of bacterial contamination that one cannot taste.

If a municipality uses surface water, for instance a river or lake/reservoir, it may use a lot of chlorine. If that is so, be careful of Trihalomethanes that are formed when chlorine partially oxidizes organic matter. THMs are known and listed carcinogens. The only way to remove the necessity of excessive chlorination is to replace the front-end water treatment with ozone, and allow chlorine to be used only for the residual value.

Ozone is not soluble in water, which is the reason for its disinfection power in water, but also the reason it does not provide residual disinfection power. Many cities in the US are converting to an ozone front end as the EPA has mandated a reduction in THMs in the product water. I could go on, but will stop it here. We build ozone systems that are treating a lot of potable water in homes and ships and yachts, and may soon be adding ozonation systems to a fleet of long line tuna fishing vessels.