What Does Ozone Smell Like?

Ozone generators can be used to oxidize odors, but did you know it produces a smell of its own?

According to Gizmodo, “the "clean" smell, in particular after a heavy thunderstorm, is caused by ozone.”

“Ozone (scientifically known as trioxygen due to the fact that it is comprised of three oxygen atoms) is notably pungent and has a very sharp smell that is often described as similar to that of chlorine,” Gizmodo.

How ozone is produced

Lightning rips nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the environment to pieces, resulting in the formation of ozone.

The source of this reaction is an electrical charge. According to Scientific American, “An electrical charge—from lightning or a man-made source such as an electrical generator—splits atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen molecules into separate atoms,” according to Scientific American.

“Some of these recombine into nitric oxide, and this in turn reacts with other atmospheric chemicals, occasionally producing a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms—ozone, or O3,” according to Scientific American.

Ozone generators use cold corona discharge to recreate this process each time the machine is utilized. This unstable third oxygen molecule is what destroys odors, like smells from fire or water damage. The pungent ozone smell won’t linger long. In air, ozone typically has a half-life of 30 minutes.

It is important to stay clear of the area if the smell of ozone remains pungent. Even in small quantities, ozone can damage the lungs if inhaled. Once the smell of ozone is gone, the ozone has dissipated. Additionally, the pesky odors will be removed.

Some may describe the smell of ozone as “fresh” while others may believe it is “overpowering.” It is important to remember the smell of ozone produced by an ozone generator is only temporary.


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