Disaster Cleanup FAQs

How much area will one machine cover? How long does it take to eliminate odors?

Eliminating odors is not an exact science and there are several variables you need to consider when assessing a project. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend one XL3 for every 1,000 – 1,500 sq. ft. In most cases, you will notice significant improvement in the air quality within the first 24 hours. However, additional run time is required to remove all of the odors from porous contents and building materials, so you should expect the average disaster restoration job to take 3 – 4 days. Supplemental air movement is typically recommended to help distribute the hydroxyls. The following factors can affect both coverage area and run time:

  • Layout of structure (many rooms and hallways vs. one open area)

  • Type and amount of contents on site

  • Type and severity of odor

  • High ceilings (20’ or greater)

  • One story vs. multiple stories

  • Proper source removal

Example: A protein fire in the kitchen of a 2 story 3,000 sq. ft. home. A common setup would be one XL3 in the kitchen at the source, one XL3 for the remainder of the first floor, and one XL3 for the second floor.

Key Concept: A simple but very important concept to remember is that the larger the area one machine is covering, the lower the concentration of hydroxyls, the longer it is going to take. Conversely, the smaller the area, the higher the concentration, the faster it works.

Refer to our coverage table for general guidelines by unit type.

Is the Odorox® equipment safe to use in occupied areas?

Yes. One of the biggest advantages of the Odorox® hydroxyl technology compared to traditional deodorization methods is that it won’t harm people, pets, or plants. The ability to run the machines in occupied areas while you dry, clean, and demo results in jobs being completed faster, and in many cases a reduction or elimination of additional living expenses (ALE) or business interruption costs. See our latest safety testing for additional information.

The Boss™ and Boss XL3™ machines are specifically engineered for moderate to severe odors found in the disaster restoration industry. It is important to follow our operational guidelines when using this commercial line to ensure safe and effective usage.

All Odorox® machines are ETL certified for UL and CSA standards. 

Is the Odorox® equipment safe to use on sensitive materials?

Yes. Hydroxyls will not damage rubber, plastic, leather, electronics, artwork, wet items, or other sensitive materials. Items with high financial value or high sentimental value can now be deodorized without any concern of damaging them. Contents can be treated either on site if conditions allow, or off site at a facility with a hydroxyl chamber.

What is the difference between hydroxyls and ozone?

Hydroxyls and ozone are both gasses that can be used to eliminate odors and pathogens. However, the mechanism in which they react with chemicals is very different. In simple terms, ozone will release its extra oxygen atom, while hydroxyls will generally steal a hydrogen atom from the molecule it’s reacting with. This process is referred to as hydrogen abstraction. This difference creates the following advantages for using hydroxyls instead of ozone:

  • Scientifically, hydroxyls are 1,000,000 times more reactive than ozone.  This does not necessarily mean that Odorox® will be faster than ozone because that is largely dependent on concentration.  It does mean that Odorox® will eliminate a far wider range of odors and VOCs.  This includes odors caused by protein fires, fuel spills, skunks, VOCs from new paint and materials, trauma scenes, etc.

  • Hydroxyls are safe for people, pets, plants, and sensitive materials. Ozone can be very destructive and cannot be used in occupied areas.

  • Hydroxyls leave behind a very fresh and clean smell, while most people would describe the final “ozone smell” as somewhat metallic and unpleasant.

  • Hydroxyls will penetrate deep into soft fabrics and porous materials to ensure that all odors have been eliminated. Ozone has a difficult time getting rid of deeply absorbed odors.

  • Hydroxyls are lighter than air and are easy to distribute with high cfm air movers. Ozone is heavier than air and difficult to move around, particularly in very large commercial areas.

  • Hydroxyls can be used in wet environments, while ozone may react with water to create hydrogen peroxide which can cause discoloration.

Does the Odorox® equipment produce any ozone?

Yes. Just as in nature, the Odorox® technology produces trace amounts of ozone as a by-product of making hydroxyls.  Odorox® systems are designed to minimize the residual ozone principally by irradiating and decomposing it as it is formed within the Odorox® UV processing chamber. Ozone is non-accumulative under these conditions and remains at a steady state concentration similar to ambient levels in the outside air. Ozone is also lost to a variety of chemical reactions, including its reaction with hydroxyls. Under normal use conditions with average levels of ventilation and air movement, the ozone levels are far below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 0.1 ppm time-weighted average over an eight hour period.

Safety has always been a priority for Odorox®. It is important to note that certain operating conditions should be avoided, such as the use of our commercial or industrial units in small confined spaces with no air exchange or without proper monitoring. As such, we do provide operational guidelines and coverage tables for our Disaster Cleanup line of equipment.

Do hydroxyls kill bacteria, viruses, and mold?

Yes. Unlike humans, animals, and plants, microorganisms are very sensitive to reactions with atmospheric free radicals. Hydroxyls are the most powerful free radicals, and will rapidly pull hydrogen atoms from the proteins and lipids in the cell membrane. This leads to leakage of the cell contents and death. See our lab results for the efficacy of the Odorox® equipment on a variety of microorganisms including aspergillus niger, E coli, staph, and influenza A.

It is important to note that the Odorox® machines are designed to be just one tool in the tool box when it comes to mold remediation. We recommend following existing protocols and standards (like the IICRC S520) which include the removal of dead mold spores.

Are the Odorox® machines easy to use and maintain? Are they durable?

Yes. Odorox® machines are manufactured in the United States and are lightweight, easily portable, and extremely durable. They plug into any standard 110 - 120 volt power supply and draw less than 2 amps, allowing you to daisy chain multiple machines without concern. It is recommended to clean each piece of equipment in between jobs in order to prevent cross-contamination. See our cleaning instructions for complete details.

How long will the UV optics last?

The hydroxyl generating UV optics will last for approximately 9,000 – 10,000 hours. However, they will gradually lose their power over time, particularly when used in the disaster cleanup industry. This is due to the harsh environments they are exposed to as well as constantly turning the machines on and off. When the optics begin to lose their power, you will notice that jobs start taking a little bit longer to complete. Because it is important for restoration contractors to always have equipment running at peak performance, it is recommended to replace the optics after approximately 4,000 – 5,000 hours of use.

Does the Odorox® equipment produce any type of odor?

Yes. While the machines are running, the hydroxyls are going to produce an oxidizing odor similar to a light ozone or light chlorine smell. Obviously the smaller the area they are running in the stronger the odor, and the larger the area the lighter the odor. All Odorox® machines are equipped with high and low switches to help control this odor if necessary. For the average application, the odor will be faint and mostly unnoticeable. When projects are complete, the odor left behind will be that of no odor. It is a very fresh and clean smell and is the result of all odors, good and bad, being eliminated. We recommend turning off the Odorox® equipment at the end of each project and running the air movers to air out the structure for 10 – 15 minutes. This will give you the ability to step outside, readjust your nose, and walk back into the structure to ensure that the contents and building material have been fully deodorized.

What is the difference between the Odorox® equipment and other “hydroxyl generators”?

View our page dedicated to Odorox® vs. PCO technology for unbiased information on the comparison of these two technologies, as well as access to third-party research confirming the superior effectiveness of Odorox® hydroxyl equipment over PCO.

The patented technology used in the Odorox® machines is very different than what other companies use. Many companies use a process called photocatalytic oxidation (PCO). This application is commonly found in home air purifiers, intended for light air purification applications. A simple Google search of "photocatalytic oxidation air purifier" will reveal the many options that are available, most of which are somewhat inexpensive.

Some may claim references to NASA technology but this can be confusing because NASA employed a far more sophisticated (and expensive) version of this technology. These PCO machines use a single frequency of UV light (photo) and a catalyst (catalytic) like titanium dioxide to oxidize pollutants in the air. The UV light is placed very close to the titanium dioxide and results in the creation of some hydroxyls on the catalyst surface where they can react with VOCs in the air that is passing through the machine. Some PCO manufacturers may also require minimum humidity levels i.e. 60%. In many regions and parts of the day this will require the use of supplemental humidification equipment.

We prefer to have other manufacturers talk about their own technology but there is so much misinformation in the marketplace regarding Disaster Cleanup applications that must be addressed. We are often asked  how the Odorox® compares to the Titan 4000 and its PCO technology. We prefer to allow independent scientific research and actual field results to provide the answers to these questions and have provided the following table as a simple comparison.

Many other companies have for years uses a process called photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) to generate hydroxyls. These application are commonly found in home air purifiers, intended for light air purification applications. A simple Google search of "photocatalytic oxidation air purifier" will reveal the many options that are available, most of which are somewhat inexpensive. Some may claim references to NASA technology but this can be confusing because NASA employed a far more sophisticated ( and expensive) version of this technology. These PCO machines use a single frequency of UV light (photo) and a catalyst (catalytic) like titanium dioxide coated metal surface or screen to oxidize pollutants in the air. It is important to note that this technology only treats the air passing through the machine and the coated screen or filter, and is unable to generate hydroxyls and oxidants in the quantity and strength to exit the machine to eliminate odors from surfaces or contents within a structure. The UV light is placed very close to the titanium dioxide coated screen or filter and results in the creation of some hydroxyls on the coated surface where they can react with VOCs in the air that is passing through the machine. Some PCO manufacturers may also require minimum humidity levels i.e. 60%. In many regions and parts of the day this will require the use of supplemental humidification equipment.   

The PCO applications may generate sufficient oxidants to treat small volumes of air with low concentrations of VOCs, but they are generally ineffective for treating larger areas or air containing higher concentrations of VOCs. While PCO technology is sufficient for home use or other relatively clean environments, it simply does not have the strength or capacity to be effective for disaster cleanup applications. 

Odorox® technology uses multiple wavelengths of high powered UV light without a catalyst to create a process called photolysis – meaning this technology breaks apart molecules using light.  The  result is a far greater number of hydroxyls that exit the machine and create a cascade chain reaction to produce more hydroxyls and other radicals.  This allows Odorox to not only treat the air much faster, but it eliminates odors absorbed by surfaces, structures, and contents..  This is why Odorox® systems are effective not only for disaster cleanup applications, but for other extreme industrial applications like meat rendering plants, sewage plants, trash transfer stations, etc.

As noted above (see FAQ regarding ozone), the Odorox® technology produces residual levels of ozone and other oxidants as a by-product of making hydroxyls. Odorox® systems are designed to minimize the residual ozone principally by irradiating and decomposing it as it is formed within the Odorox® UV processing chamber. Under normal use conditions with average levels of ventilation and air movement, the ozone levels are far below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines for permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 0.1 ppm time weighted average over an eight hour period.

In addition to the fact that  the Odorox® is unique and patent approved, there is  substantial independent testing performed by some of the most reputable labs in the United States to confirm the efficacy of this technology.  There is also an abundance of real world success where Odorox® has been deployed for many of the most complex and large disaster cleanup jobs in recent years.   Odorox® is also Xactimate approved.  Please refer to this independent scientific study for further information and a direct comparison of hydroxyl output between the Odorox® Boss™ machine and the Titan 4000

Sales and Trial Programs Available

Get Started