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Odor Removal with Hydroxyl Generators


Odor Removal and Restoration

Odor removal is a critical part of almost any restoration project. Fully eliminating odors has always been difficult since each project has unique challenges. Fire and soot restoration jobs, for example, can be particularly tricky. Fires damages more than just the burned and charred areas you can see. Soot and smoke can damage furnishings, documents, ventilation systems, electronics and equipment if immediate action is not taken. Dealing with pungent smoke odors may render a property less desirable to its owner and to other occupants. Recognizing potential odor sites and properly performing restoration procedures are key to eliminating smoke odors for good.

Smoke Odor and Soot Damage Cleanup

Most smoke odors will not simply “air out” on their own. Further measures need to be taken by restoration professionals like Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT to completely remove or seal the soot particulate. Many different techniques can be utilized to combat smoke odor during the restoration process. Masking agents, foggers, ozone, hydroxyl generators, etc., are all potential candidates for tackling that lingering “fire smell.” Hydroxyl generators are one of the safest and most efficient tools used in the restoration industry for deodorization.

What are Hydroxyl Radicals?

Hydroxyl radicals (OH) are created naturally in the atmosphere when the sun’s ultraviolet rays react with water vapor (H2O) and oxygen (O2). They rapidly decompose chemicals in the air and are often referred to as “nature’s broom” because of their crucial role in helping to keep the Earth’s atmosphere clear of harmful organic and inorganic compounds. Hydroxyls work primarily by abstracting hydrogen atoms, thereby dismantling the molecular structure of odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Powerful hydroxyl generators using the same broad range of UV radiation as the sun are now used to naturally clean and deodorize indoor environments. The hydroxyls created by these generators are very efficient at eliminating smoke and other odors, permanently.

Within the industry, hydroxyls are often compared to ozone because they are both oxidizing gasses. They both have the capacity to react with and destroy chemicals that cause pungent odors. Both gases do not mask the odor. They destroy the odor. Ozone gas will actually work much faster than hydroxyls to eliminate odors. However, you must be very careful using ozone generators. Ozone is an oxidizing gas, which means it will oxidize organics. Another word for oxidizing is burning. Since your eyes and lungs are organic, ozone will burn your eyes and lungs. Ozone will also combine with moisture in the air and create Hydrogen Peroxide. Excessive humidity in an environment with ozone gas can cause bleaching. Ozone gas must only be used by professionals and in unoccupied areas because it can be hazardous to living creatures. Especially pets and people.

The main benefit of using a true hydroxyl generator is that they are safe to use in occupied areas. Insurance companies do not seem to have a problem paying for the extra time it takes a hydroxyl generator to do the job as opposed to the faster ozone machine. This is because they are saving on hotels, food and customers are much happier staying in their own homes and businesses. Jobs can be streamlined when the contractor is able to deodorize while drying, cleaning and performing controlled demolition services. Both the contents and structure can be treated at the same time. As conditions permit, the need to move personal items off site for cleaning can be avoided or substantially reduced.

Hydroxyl radical generators are not a silver bullet that will solve all the restoration contractors’ problems. Still, they have become an essential tool in all types of odor removal. When projects are properly assessed and the correct machines are properly placed, contractors now have the confidence to ensure their clients that all of the odors will be eliminated safely and efficiently.