All is not lost when you open your ozone generator cabinet one day and find everything covered in dust. The dust is not toxic, just messy. It has come from the oxygen concentrator which uses a clay based zeolite material as a sieve to filter out Nitrogen from the air and supply dry oxygen for the ozone generator cells. The dusting can be caused by moisture getting into the sieve beds, excessive flow or pressure through the oxygen concentrator. Let’s work on getting repairs made first and then discuss ways to prevent this from happening again.
- The oxygen concentrator (aluminum tank assembly on the upper left side) needs to be removed and either replaced or rebuilt. This assembly will be supplied either with 120 volt or 24 volt power. You will need to disconnect this power along with the air feed hose and smaller 1/4″ ID oxygen tube coming off the oxygen tank. The air hose is usually a 1/2″ barb fitting and the oxygen fittings at the other end are a quick connect type fitting.
- Clean up the dust with a long bristle brush and vacuum or compressed air blower.
- Remove the small tank from the oxygen concentrator. This a storage tank/surge tank and could be full of dust. It will also have an orifice on the outlet. Make sure this is open.
- A network of green tubing with check valves and orifices are at the top. These check valves will need to be replaced and the orifices open.
- Order new parts. It is likely that all the filters need to be replaced. The air compressor inlet filter, two coalescing filters to remove moisture and dust from the compressed air, and for some machines, an oxygen filter. (see the parts list below). When the oxygen concentrator dusts, you will need to order new or rebuilt sieve beds. It is also likely that the valve set is compromised and the Nitrogen exhaust mufflers are plugged with dust. The mufflers can be hard to clean, and are fairly inexpensive, so it is recommended to replace them. The valve is a shuttle valve which is sensitive the contamination and sticking. It can be rebuilt, but sometimes it is difficult to get it to work as well as new and it may be best to replace it.
- Once everything is cleaned up, use the compressed air to gently blow some air through the ozone generator to make sure it is not plugged. Some generators are more sensitive to getting plugged and will have an oxygen filter to prevent this. Do not put too much pressure on the ozone generator.
- Replace the filters.
- Re-assemble the oxygen concentrator with new sieve beds, oxygen check valves, and valve set. Mount back in place. It may be easier to connect the oxygen lines before mounting.
- Turn the system back on. Leave the ozone off. The compressor will turn on and the oxygen concentrator will begin cycling the valve to direct air through the oxygen concentrator. The compressor will reach 20-40 psi as the concentrator cycles air through the concentrator. Exhaust nitrogen will blow out of the muffler.
- Oxygen flow and pressure will register on the cabinet door.
- When the oxygen supply is stabilized and flow appears normal through the ozone generator, you can turn on the ozone generator.
The most common cause of dusting in an oxygen concentrator is excessive moisture in the feed air. If the ozone system is located in an environment with high humidity there are three things you could do: 1) move the equipment to a dryer environment and plumb the ozone to the point of use, 2) Plumb a refrigerant air dryer between the air compressor and the coalescing filters, 3) plumb an air hose to extend the air inlet filter for the compressor to a dryer location. Moisture, along with excessive oxygen flow rates are the leading cause of concentrator failure. When the unit is running, adjusting the oxygen flow to a lower rate will extend the life of the concentrator.
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