Restaurant owners and managers are always looking for ways to improve their business. They can do this by installing an air purifier system in the kitchen or restaurant area but choosing between an Ozone air purifier and another air purification system can be an important choice.
Ozone air purifier systems should never be used in indoor settings like restaurants or commercial kitchens. Ozone air purifiers emit a gas called Ozone as a byproduct and can cause numerous health issues. In addition, there are much better alternative air purifying systems for use in restaurants.
Read on to discover why restaurants should not use ozone air purifiers and some settings where they are acceptable. We will also discuss the disadvantages of ozone air purifiers and some alternatives that will work better in restaurants.
Why Restaurants Do Not Need Ozone Air Purifiers
In occupied spaces like restaurants, ozone is a hazardous gas, because it breaks apart into oxygen and another oxidant called free radicals when it hits air particles or surfaces. This causes ozone to become reactive in contact with any substance, including skin cells and the lining of the lungs.
How Ozone Air Purifiers Work
Ozone air purifiers work much like other air filtration systems because of how they get rid of airborne contaminants like:
- Smoke particles
- Food odors
- Pet dander
- Gas fumes and more
Ozone air purifiers are different than other systems because they produce ozone, a powerful oxidant that removes contaminants and can also change the chemical composition of substances. It will react with many types of organic materials and, in some cases, can cause a fire.
Are Ozone Air Purifiers Safe?
Ozone is harmful to the skin and organs, so restaurant owners need to consider this when choosing a purifier system. While ozone is very effective at deactivating contaminants, it can also indiscriminately react with anything in the air and produce other harmful byproducts.
For example, when deactivated smoke particles are exposed to ozone, they release reactive substances called “peroxides” that could cause respiratory problems or cancer if inhaled over a long period.
Ozone-treated air also forms particulates that can cause an asthma attack or other respiratory problems if inhaled.
Use HEPA Filters as Ozone Air Purifier Alternatives
The high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filter is one of the most effective and long-lasting filters available. It removes over 99% of all particles as small as 0.003 microns in size.
HEPA filters work by trapping particles that could release allergens or irritants like:
- Pet dander
- Smoke particles
- Dust mites
- Bacteria spores
Restaurant owners can choose between HEPA filters and Ultraviolet systems, both of which effectively eliminate contaminants from the air.
Advantages of HEPA Filter Air Purifiers for Restaurants
HEPA filter air purifiers come as an ideal alternative to Ozone air purifiers. Some of the benefits offered by HEPA systems in comparison to Ozone air purifiers include:
- HEPA filters remove 99% of particles in the air without emitting a gas like Ozone that can be harmful to occupants of a restaurant.
- HEPA systems kill germs and other contaminants and last longer than other systems.
- A HEPA filter works by trapping fine air pollutants like dust from your kitchen work surfaces, so these don’t contaminate the food and surfaces you come into contact with.
- HEPA filters are now a required part of new homes in some states, as they can reduce the risk of asthma and other respiratory problems significantly.
HEPA filters provide a safer way of purifying air when compared to Ozone air purifiers.
Disadvantages of Ozone Air Purifiers for Restaurants
Ozone air purifiers should not be used in an indoor setting and come with many disadvantages and health risks when used in settings like restaurants or bars. Some of the significant disadvantages of Ozone air purifiers include:
- Molds thrive on ozone. They reproduce rapidly in ozone-rich environments, posing health risks for people who inhale or touch them with their skin.
- Ozone degrades indoor insulation and causes paint damage over time.
- High ozone concentrations may cause flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, coughing spells, increased phlegm production, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
- Ozone is a potent greenhouse gas, which means it contributes to global warming.
- It also degrades the ozone layer in the stratosphere that protects us from harmful UV rays.
- Ozone has an ODP of 0.037 while CO has a zero value, so ozone can be considered worse for the environment than carbon dioxide when considering these values.
Some countries classify high concentrations of ozone as toxic pollutants requiring special precautions such as the use of respirators or protective clothing by those working near them.
UV Systems Are Additional Ozone Air Purifier Alternatives
Ultraviolet systems work by exposing contaminants to UV light, disrupting their DNA causing them to die off quickly. Restaurant owners can choose between UV-C or UV-A, depending on their needs.
Ultraviolet systems are more effective at killing bacteria and viruses than HEPA filters. HEPA filters can be expensive to replace because Restaurant owners need many of them for the Restaurant’s size.
Where Can I Use Ozone Air Purifiers?
Ozone Air Purifiers should only be used in non-occupied spaces like unoccupied areas of warehouses, factories, or commercial spaces. Ozone has been used in industries where it’s necessary to get rid of bacteria and other microbes present in the air.
Some ozone air purifier systems are used in tandem with ozone level monitors. These monitors will immediately shut off the system before the level of ozone reached in the environment becomes toxic. Though these additions can make ozone air purifiers safer, there are still better options for air purification on the market.
If you want to make your restaurant a healthier place for customers and employees, ozone air purifiers are not the answer. While they will kill some contaminants in the air, these devices emit Ozone gas as a by-product of their operation, which can cause numerous health issues when breathed in. This makes them unsafe to use indoors, where people eat or work out frequently.
Instead, two options should be considered instead – HEPA filters (which have been approved for indoor use) and Ultraviolet systems like UVC lamps which also eliminate contaminants from the air quickly without any risk of an Ozone inhalation hazard.