What is an Ozone Shock Application?

Ozone Shock DefinedIs ozone shock a real concept?  If it is, how is it measured and what happens when you hit this level?  Be careful though.  It is easy to become overzealous about how big the ozone output is when the other questions are how long to apply ozone and how much ozone is too much.

We at the National Ozone Association have been trying to nail down this concept so it is more than an undefined ozone rumor that few understand.  Ozone shock refers to a saturation point where ozone has maximum effect.  Based on a recent report on the ability of ozone to kill the coronavirus, 5 ppm has become the target level for ozone treatment.

To be clear, ozone sanitizing starts at very low ozone levels, but the 5 ppm for 30-60 minutes is the high watermark for serious sanitizing of infectious disease.  

So, consider a 1000 mg/hr ozone generator.  Can it produce an ozone shock?  Not really unless you are treating a walk-in closet.  

It helps to understand that ozone may be like water.  You can get something wet, or you can cause a flood.  Small ozone machines will kill germs and odors, but the effect may be minimal.  To get value from a small ozone generator, you may need to run it for days to have a meaningful impact on the odor threat.

Ozone saturation is measured in PPM (part per million), and the size of the units is measure in output by grams or milligrams per hour (mg/hr).  Like a car engine a small, two-cylinder engine can travel 1000 miles, but a large engine (eight-cylinder) will get there faster.  You can sweep with a paintbrush or a large broom.  So, the larger the milligram output will hit a high PPM in the room, whereas a small milligram output may never hit shock level ... but it will help.

If shock level ozone starts at 6 ppm, a 4000, 5000 mg/hr machine will likely not get there, regardless of boastful claims.  The size of the rooms or buildings being treated is a variable in the process.  A bedroom is one thing, but a 4000 sq ft home with cathedral ceilings is a huge difference.  Anymore, a 20,000 to 40,000 ozone generator is the best size for almost any job.  It has the output to drive the ambient air to the 6+ PPM you need.  We estimate that a good rule of thumb is 10,000 mg/hr for every 1000-1250 sq ft to treat.  So, a 40,000 generator will treat a 4,000 to 6,000 sq ft house.  

One overt sign of ozone shock is called the "Blue Haze".  When you enter a room or building being treated and you see the slight cloudiness of a blue fog, this is not a cause of worry.  This is the Blue Haze that indicates you have reached a serious ozone shock level.  The blue haze may not occur every time because there are variables to every job.  But, do not worry that something is wrong.  

The stress of ozone shock may be like not playing ball until you can hit a home run each time.  Ozone works at any level, but the important skill is to know how much ozone and how long to apply the ozone.  Ozone shock is frankly not important most treatments because a modest treatment is all that is needed.

As an amateur, ignore the idea of ozone shock because ozone is better applied in stages or cycles.  Ozone shock is the blue fairy myth that tends to take people the wrong direction for ozone use.  Start with a 32,000 mg/hr unit with a timer that allows you to apply ozone in measured cycles until the problem is resolved.

More Information at National Air Quality Institute