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 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.
  • 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 UV optics will stay lit for 8,000 hours or more. However, they will gradually lose their power over time, 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 UV optics after approximately 4,000 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® technology and other hydroxyl generators like Titan?

Visit our page dedicated to the Odorox vs. Titan comparison for unbiased information about these two technologies, as well as access to third-party research confirming the superior effectiveness of the Odorox® hydroxyl generators.

To sum up the comparison, Titan uses a process called photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) that is commonly found in home air purifiers. It can only eliminate low levels of VOCs that are in the air and pass through the Titan machine. It does not produce any hydroxyl radicals or other oxidants that exit the machine to eliminate odors that have been absorbed in either the structure or the contents.

The Odorox® technology was patented in 2012 because it produces a large number of hydroxyl radicals that exit the Odorox machine. They then create more hydroxyls and other oxy and peroxy radicals through a process called the cascade effect (aka, a chain reaction). This allows Odorox to not only treat the air much faster, but it eliminates all odors that have been absorbed into surfaces, structures, and contents.. This is why Odorox® systems are effective not only for disaster restoration applications, but for other extreme industrial applications like meat rendering plants, sewage plants, trash transfer stations, etc.

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