Molecules are groups of atoms held together with covalent bonds. Your nostrils take in air laden with many molecules triggering reactions in your brain. Your olfactory is stimulated by different shaped molecules and each different shaped molecule is a different smell. Some smells are pleasant and you can’t get enough and some smells are abhorrent and unwanted.
All odor removal systems strive to remove offensive and unwanted molecules from the common air. There are three proven methods in the last 15 or 20 years that are effective for the indoor gardener. They are liquids, sprays and gels which trap organic molecules and basically change their “smell shape”. Ozone dispensers create an extra oxygen molecule that alters the molecular structure of offending micro organisms and adsorbing carbon filters take in air from within the garden area and absorb the unwanted odors in the surface of the carbon itself.
The liquids, sprays and gel are organic, safe and environmentally friendly. They are made of chemical compounds based on terpnes that are found everywhere in nature. Terpnes are hydrocarbons and some are oxygen containing compounds like alcohol and ketones. There are three ways these products work in your room. The compounds absorb and bind with odor permanently or they adsorb and collect and hold the gas or vapor in the surface of the compound or by a chemical reaction where the odor is actually cancelled out in a “pairs bonding” reaction. Originally developed for use in commercial and industrial applications and being environmentally safe, it was only a matter of time until these products met hydroponics. Because these products are a wide spectrum formulation that neutralizes all organic and non organic odors, the smells are not just masked but are permanently removed.
The chemical is dispensed in a grow area by auto sprayers or simply by placing the liquid, gel or block in front of an oscillating fan. There are also canisters with custom made fans that are affordable and cost effective and can provide odor neutralization from 6,000 cubic feet to 100,000 cubic feet. Gels and pucks can be placed near heating vents or placed in ducting. They can be used virtually anywhere.
Another method of odor controls is generating O3. O3 is a specific form of oxygen (ozone) which is completely safe when used correctly. Basically ozone converts odors to CO2 and oxygen. Ozone has a very short life and reverts back to oxygen quickly since the stability of O3 is not very long in duration. Ozone can irritate if the levels are too high, so an ozone test kit is placed in the garden and a colour code will show how much O3 is reaching the garden in a one hour period. One RPM of ozone is an acceptable level according to government standards. The average grow room will use around .03 or .05 to be effective in a hydroponic application. Ozone generators take care of mold, mildew, bacteria and other pathogens created in a controlled environment and run quietly as well as operating at an optimum in humidity over 50%.
Ozone generators have a UV germicidal bulb that reacts with the surrounding air in a volatile way and the oxygen will take on another oxygen atom for a short period of time. Oxygen is a powerful purifier that freshens the air…something like a breeze after a thunderstorm.
The ozone units commonly carried in stores can purify areas ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 cubic feet. Some larger units are placed inside duct work and commercial and industrial units can purify as much as 100,000 cubic feet. In a grow room situation the ozone unit can be hung opposite the outtake fan on the opposing wall of the room. When hung like this the ozone will have a chance to roll through the garden and give the ozone a chance to do its converting.
Adsorbing carbon is used in many different applications. It is used in industry for removing such nasty things as arsenic and carbon monoxide and in paint booths, absorbing fumes and noxtious vapors. Different grain sizes and types of carbon are used in specific applications to attain the most efficient absorption. In a grow room situation the carbon type is CKV-4. The carbon filters will remove 99% of odors in the room if the temperature, humidity and the CFM of the outake fan is met. The carbon filters can operate at a maximum temperature of 80 degrees centigrade and up to 70% humidity. A properly running grow room will be well within these limits. In order to find the proper can filter for your room, you simply calculate the cubic feet of the room and divide that by the number of minutes you would like to exchange your air (2 minutes is good). That will be the minimum CFM of your fan. The CFM number should be higher than the exhaust minimum of the filter itself. This way any CFM loss from the filter is covered. Periodic cleaning of the pre filter will also keep things flowing and is the only maintenance. The carbon filters can technically be refilled but this would be futile. The filters are packed with industrial shakers and the carbon becomes packed evenly with no gaps for air or smell to sneak through. You would not be able to achieve this. The life of the carbon filter depends on the concentration of the smell, humidity and how much volume of air is flowing through the room daily. You can expect 18 or so months of service from a properly run filter. You can push or pull air through a filter but pull is best as the surface area of the carbon is utilized the most efficiently. If you do happen to push air through you should take the pre filter off for better air flow. With over a dozen filters to choose from and CFM parameters clearly marked on the containers, carbon filters are a viable means of odor removal.
When it comes to choosing any odor control method, it will be between you and your local hydroponic supply store. Some good advice and knowledge about these products will help with decisions about the hows and whys of your particular situation. All these odor control products are easy to use and have a proven track record and have no negative effect on the plants at all. Odor control gives an indoor gardener confidence and above all peace of mind.
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