Hopefully this is the right community to ask this question. Does anyone know whether there is a significant chance that ozone at approximately 15 ppm will damage consumer electronics, speakers, keyboards, and lab equipment, such as a Tektronix scope, for example?

I'm very sensitive to smells (actually diagnosed with hyperosmia, if anyone wants to know) and there is a slight but unpleasant odor that builds up in the apartment when I keep the windows closed for about 10 hours or so. I moved here recently, and except for this and a couple of other minor problems, I really like it. It's cold and rainy outside, so I can't keep the windows open, as I do in the summer.

I decided to blast the place with ozone, which helped for a few days, but now the odor is coming back. The first time I did this I waited until the rain stopped and hauled all of the electronics to the balcony just in case, and left the place, of course. But I'm not going to drag all of this stuff back and forth again, so I wonder how dangerous is this really?

According to a quick guesstimate based on the ozone generator specs ad the volume of air in the apartment, and assuming ozone half-life of about 30 minutes, the concentration should stabilize at about 15 ppm. Would repeated exposure (let's say a couple of hours once a week) pose a significant risk for electronics?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ozone strongly attacks rubber belts and such like that may be in printers and similar electromechanical devices, but the more immediate problem is health and safety, as WhatRough says. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2014 at 5:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Most loudspeakers also contain vulnerable rubber goods. \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Dec 17, 2014 at 11:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, definitely. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2014 at 3:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you ought to be concerned about the source of this odor . It may be hidden toxic mold from water damage and releasing spores and toxins into the air from a place the ozone can not effect it . \$\endgroup\$
    – user113647
    Jun 10, 2016 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


15 ppm? Holy Cow! It might not damage electronics, but it will surely damage you. See http://www.ozoneservices.com/articles/007.htm 12 ppm kills guinea pigs in 3 hours. .05 ppm is the upper limit for FDA-approved medical devices, and 0.1 ppm it the health and safety limit.

That said, I'd expect only a long-term degradation in electronics gear. I'd expect bleaching of exposed surfaces, among other things, but only over a span of months.

ETA - Spehro has brought up the problem of ozone attacking rubber, and Brian has extended the concern to speakers. This is a valid concern. Ozone cracking is well-known, and there exist antiozonating agents (and no, I'm not making the word up) which get added to the rubber before it's vulcanized. I'm assuming that any rubber found a piece of electronics equipment would be so protected just on general principles. Well, we all know what happens when you assume, so I may be wrong. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_cracking for a discussion of the problem.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The generator has a timer, which was set for 2 hours. I wasn't there while it was running, nor were any any guinea pigs. Houseplants stayed inside but didn't seem to suffer at all. I had to open the windows afterwards and leave again for a few hours while the place was airing out. Could still sense a faint smell of ozone after that. Thanks for the FDA medical device info, by the way, actually working on one now. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2014 at 7:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @biggvsdiccvs And what about your neighbours? If you have a common air duct it can affect them as well. Ozone is highly toxic substance, and if you are really working with these amounts, you are an immediate danger to your surroundings, and have to stop your experiments at once. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eugene Sh.
    Dec 17, 2014 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point. I don't have a common air duct with anyone, though, and the door leads to an open-air gallery, and seals pretty tightly. Nevertheless, I probably won't be doing this again, one of the reasons being that I'm too lazy to haul the speakers and the printer in and out, and the plants should probably be evacuated as well. Maybe I'll experiment with a weaker concentration or a HEPA filter. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2014 at 3:51

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