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Hydroxyl Generation and Ozone Generation in Crime Scene Cleanup and Other Odor Removal Situations

A variety of ways exist to remove crime scene odor after a death cleanup and other odors such as those associated with tobacco odor cleanup. Each process has its potential benefits and drawbacks, two methods, which can be considered quite similar, will be discussed here, along with how these methods are incorporated into homeowners’ insurance claims.

Differences Between Ozone and Hydroxyl Generation

Both ozone generation and hydroxyl generation are used in the restoration and biohazard cleanup industries to remove malodorous contaminants from the home or commercial spaces. Ozone generation typically involves the use of UV lighting and a corona arc to split oxygen atoms (02) which then recombines and creates ozone (03). Hydroxyl generation also uses a process that oxidizes through the use of UV lighting, but acts on water vapors (H20) to create hydroxyl radicals (OH). OH, which people are exposed to regularly, is much safer than 03, and can be used in occupied spaces. While ozone generation is more dangerous, the average treatment time is usually 24 hours, as opposed to around three times that with hydroxyl generation.
When running an ozone generator, the property should be unoccupied with signage posted so that nobody enters, the property should also be secured. There are also some risks associated with damage to wet fabrics, items such as artwork, and natural rubber. It does appear however to be more effective over a shorter period at removing pet urine odor. Hydroxyl generation on the other hand is more effective at removing odor from porous items like furniture and the home or commercial space can be occupied while it is in use.

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When should Ozone Generation Be Used Over Hydroxyl Generation

Affinity Bio Solutions AZ, LLC has both types of equipment and other odor removal equipment. This allows us to be more flexible when responding to trauma scenes, unattended death scenes, or other situations like tobacco odor removal or pet odor removal. When a home is unoccupied after situations like an unattended death with excessive odor and there are few or no contents, we often suggest ozone treatment as the fastest way for the home to be returned to livable conditions. If the home can be vacated and there pet odor removal is needed, we also find that ozone generation and other methods may be more efficient than hydroxyl radicals.
When odor removal is needed in occupied spaces or those which are fully furnished, and the porous items are also affected by odor, we recommend hydroxyl generation. We also recommend hydroxyl generation for commercial spaces, as this allows the business to continue operating instead of closing up and losing money. When delicate/high value items such as artwork are present, we also suggest hydroxyl generation as a way of minimizing the potential for damage.

Will my Home Owners Insurance Cover Hydroxyl Generation?

When looking at the overall costs of each treatment, one would often conclude that insurance carriers (which cover losses after a death occurs), would opt to cover ozone generation only. We have not found this to be the case, particularly after an unattended death with contents in the home. It may appear that running a machine in the home for three days is more costly than a one-day treatment, but there are factors that affect the cost in other ways.

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Hydroxyl generation can begin as soon as the crime scene cleanup company begins work, which will often reduce the time to completion by 24 hours. If contents are covered by the homeowner’s insurance and need addressed by the biohazard cleanup company, the hydroxyl generator could begin to accomplish this task without more expensive methods needed. Contents restoration can often involve packing out all affected items to be restored, then applying what can sometimes be timely processes, then returning them to the home. The potential to address porous items on-site with hydroxyl generation can therefore save the insurance carrier money, and the client time without their personal items.

Each piece of equipment has its benefits and drawbacks, which is why Affinity Bio Solutions AZ, LLC has invested in these and other methods to allow for a certain amount of flexibility when addressing odor problems. Whether it is a biohazard cleanup situation, tobacco odor removal, pet odor removal, hoarder house cleanup, or even something unique like a residual odor from curry. The source of the odor should first be removed, then the most appropriate method applied for an odor removal to be effective. These methods are often best applied by biohazard cleanup companies specializing in odor removal such as Affinity Bio Solutions AZ, LLC, with experienced staff certified in areas such as content restoration, crime scene cleanup, and professional odor removal


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