When growing in an urban environment, considerations need to be taken to account for other people and families living in close proximity. One of these considerations is smell.
While tomatoes, strawberries, and chilies have a relatively light smell, herbs like lavender, rosemary, and basil produce stronger smells you may wish to clean out if living within a built-up area.
Another good reason to remove these odors is to stop insects and pests from detecting and homing in on your grow. The last thing you would want is pests infesting your indoor garden. In such an environment, they can thrive and reproduce at an alarming rate.
With modern hydroponic equipment being as good as it is these days, most odors and bacteria can be scrubbed out by passing contaminated air through a carbon filter. However, depending on the quality of the carbon, the filter, the air movement, the humidity of the air being moved, and the plants you’re growing, there can be some bacteria and odor remaining.
So, how do you get rid of these leftover, unwanted odors? One option is to use an ozone generator. Ozone generators work by producing ozone (O3) out of oxygen gas (O2). Ozone is very unstable, so it quickly breaks down back into oxygen. As it does this, it sterilizes the extra oxygen molecule, removing any bacteria and odors.
One of the negative effects is that ozone generators produce their own odor, which smells kind of like a swimming pool. Some also say that ozone generators can affect your health. Personally, I find that they give me a sore throat and headache, but I know lots of people that swear by them and have no problems.
Option two is to mask the remaining odors with sprays, gels, wax blocks, and other products. They work by somewhat encasing the bad bacteria and odor that is already airborne. This masking restricts the underlying smell as it coats the unwanted odor with a new, fresh layer of smell. Think of it as layering a green coat over a red sweater; the red sweater is still there, but you can’t really detect it anymore.
Masking odors doesn’t eradicate or replace bad smells, so this method isn’t foolproof. If you don’t fully cover the odor, people will still be able to detect it. Even if you do a decent job, animals with better senses of smell, like dogs, will still be able to detect the odor you are trying to conceal along with the cover-up odor (this combination of two out-of-the-ordinary smells makes it very easy for them to detect an indoor grow).
As for humans, the strong, distinct scents used to cover up unwanted odor can in turn act as an indicator of an indoor growing environment. This is fine if you are tiring to conceal your grow from pests, but if you want to go undetected by the human nose, it basically swaps one problem for another.
Combining Your Options
So, what is the definitive answer to getting rid of bad odors? Combine your options. If your air outtake is going directly outside, I would suggest pulling the dirty air out of your growing environment first through a carbon filter, then through an ozone generator, and then over a masking smell block.
If your outtake is going back in to a living environment and you’re sensitive to ozone generators, I would cut out that step and put another carbon filter at the end of the outtake in the living area instead.
This way the air is pulled out of your growing environment via a carbon filter, which cleans it, then passes through an odor masking block or gel, which covers any leftover smell, and then is pushed back through a separate filter.
There you have it. If you want clean odor- and bacteria-free air from your growroom, remember these mantras: Clean it, kill it, mask it; or clean it, mask it, clean it. Simple recipes for sweet-smelling success!