15 years ago Kirby Kazeil at Suds Car Wash and Allan Finney at EnvronOzone started experimenting with ozone odor killing systems for Kirby’s full service drive-through car wash.
Suds now does a minimum of $100,000/year in ozone business, says Kazeil. The ozone generator he uses costs $20,000 and per vehicle application costs are pennies.
We’ve killed and I mean killed odors from skunks to cigarettes, cigars, puke, spoiled milk, mice, diesel – you name it and we’ve done it, says Kazeil.
“We now get problem vehicles from car dealers, drive-in traffic, government and we get referrals from just about everywhere,” Kazeil said. “These are vehicles where nothing will permanently work – even enzymes – or where serious problems exist in ventilation systems.”
“We will charge out guaranteed odor control at $300 for a car or SUV,” he said. “This includes a full interior/exterior cleaning and then using Ozone to permanently kill odors.”
For odors with drive-through cleaning we offer ozone at $40 – $60 per application, he said. Our cost per application is less than $1 in operator time and the ozone cost is pennies.
“We have never had a vehicle where ozone won’t permanently kill odors,” he said. “We’ve had to re-do a few vehicles but those are the exceptions.” Kirby owns and operates Suds Car Wash, the only full-service, drive-through car wash in Regina, Sk.
After experimenting with low-concentration ozone generators Kazeil and Finney discovered that high-concentration ozone is the key.
Concentration of ozone equals strength, said Finney. For some odors, low-concentration ozone is fine. But for odors such as cigarettes, diesel and other “problem” odors, a higher strength (high concentration) ozone is required.
“We had to experiment with higher-concentration Ozone Generators to find the right system,” Finney said.
Ozone is a gas that is generated by Ozone Generators, but the only way to get high-concentration, high strength Ozone is to combine the ozone generator with an oxygen concentrator. The Oxygen Concentrator generates pure oxygen as a feed gas for the ozone generator.
Without pure oxygen you can’t get high-concentration, high strength Ozone, he said.
“Think of odors as a wall and ozone as a wave. The wave (concentration of ozone) has to get over the wall to permanently destroy it,” he said.
“Ozone is just pure profit for us,” said Kazeil. “It takes about 10 to 15 minutes for a vehicle and about 2 minutes of operator time – the ozone costs a few pennies in electricity.”
Ozone is an oxidizer – it breaks down odorous substances into their basic non-odorous parts.
“Odors are long-chain molecules,” said Finney. “Ozone permanently breaks the long-chain molecules down into non-odorous substances.”
Ozone is more effective than enzymes or odor bombs or anything else we’ve tried, says Kazeil. Ventilation systems are real problems but Ozone travels through the ventilation system and kills the odors.
“Once we discovered the right ozone-generating system, it was just a question of educating customers,” says Kazeil. “Customers now ask for ozone by name – it sells itself at this point.”
The ozone generators are robust and require little in the way of maintenance. Costs to run the system are a few pennies of electricity.
“The biggest problem was a collapsed hose once,” said Kazeil. “Troubleshooting was done over the phone and we were back up and running in a few hours.”