What Are Oxygen Concentrators?
As the name implies, Oxygen concentrators are machines that concentrate the oxygen and provide them for further use. The input for these machines can be atmospheric air or even a gas supply equivalent to atmospheric air. They remove nitrogen and enrich the input air into oxygen, which can be further used. They are comparatively lightweight, and most of them have wheels for better movement from one place to another. These concentrators are a better alternative for an oxygen cylinder, which is quite heavy, requires frequent replacement, has safety issues, and requires continuous follow-up to maintain their backup.
Origin Of Oxygen Concentrator
Oxygen in the concentrated form is used in industry and for medical purposes. The invention of concentrator devices came into existence in the early 1970s and, by the end of the 1970s, reached into homes and made home care a boon for patients. These concentrators proved to be a better alternative to high-pressure oxygen cylinders, especially for patients who cannot travel much. Currently, portable oxygen concentrators are also available, which can be installed at home and used by people who need oxygen to remedy low oxygen levels in their blood as prescribed. These oxygen concentrators follow two different techniques for enriching oxygen: pressure swing adsorption technology and nitrogen separation membrane technology.
Also, these concentrators have found more applications than oxygen cylinders as they are safer to use in case of any leakage. Due to safe operation, many users switch to concentrators from oxygen cylinders.
Uses Of Oxygen Concentrators
Oxygen concentrator machines have found their uses in various sectors, including Industries and medical facilities. Nowadays, we can use them at home due to technological advancement. The benefits of oxygen concentrators are as below:
- Hospitals use medical oxygen concentrators. They are a better alternative than oxygen cylinders with safety-related aspects attached to them.
- In hospitals or clinics, they are used for oxygen therapy in which you need oxygen as oxygen is deficient in your bloodstream.
- There are various medical conditions which require oxygen therapy and are given below:
- Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sleep Apnea
- Oxygen concentrators come in portable sizes, which can be even carried outdoors by someone who needs an external source of oxygen while carrying out any activities.
- Oxygen concentrators are being utilised at home for medical purposes for the patients recommended for home rest.
- Also, oxygen concentrators have found their use in the home to increase the overall quality of air for better breathing air.
- These concentrators are replacing the need for oxygen cylinders in industries as they are more cost-effective and comparatively safe.
These concentrators are cutting down the dependency on oxygen cylinders for carrying out critical activities as they can provide a continuous oxygen supply without the need to change them.
Features Of Oxygen Concentrators
Oxygen concentrators have undergone various advancements and are available in multiple configurations and capacities to suit everyone’s requirements. The features of most of the commercially available oxygen concentrators are:
- This equipment offers the highest medical-grade oxygen concentration therapy. It can provide> 90% pure oxygen at a flow rate of 10 litres per minute.
- They have a compact design and occupy a lesser footprint. Moreover, the concentrators are durable and can withstand long-term use.
- Since they are comparatively lightweight, they are easy to transport and thus reduce the chances of injury.
- They have a well-informed alarm system which will keep you updated about its operations. There will be an audible alarm indication in the case of low system pressure and no oxygen flow or low oxygen level.
- They have an LED indicator which shows the operating pressure with oxygen purity level.
- They have less noise and produce up to 45 dB level sound making them perfect for home use.
- They have provided multiple safety functions like power failure alarm, pressure relief valve, high & low-pressure alarm, thermal protection etc., which makes it a very reliable unit.
- Their concentrators consume less electricity and thus produce less heat.
How To Use An Oxygen Concentrator At Home?
Oxygen concentrators have gone through lots of advancement with time. Home oxygen concentrators are meant to be plug-and-play types, i.e., they require only an electric connection for their smooth functioning. Rest operation is simple as it involves setting flow as per the need. Also, they are comparatively lightweight, and most of them have wheels for better movement from one place to another. Moreover, there are concentrators available in the market that can operate on battery, and thus, usage of the outdoors is possible.
How To Clean The Oxygen Concentrator At Home?
Oxygen concentrators are easy to clean and maintain. Before you start cleaning, it is advisable to read the manual to avoid any safety-related issues or damage to the machine.
- Before starting the cleaning, make sure to disconnect the power source. Clean the outside of the concentrator with a cloth dipped in mild dish soap, followed by drying it lint-free towel or even air dry before you start using it again.
- The particle filter in the concentrator needs cleaning every month as it becomes quite dirty due to capturing dirt, dust, and other pollutants. Clean it by removing it from the equipment as per the vendor’s recommendation and submerging it in mild dishwashing soap water. Scrub the filter properly, rinse it thoroughly and dry it before reusing.
- It is recommended to disinfect the nasal cannula and oxygen mask every week to keep them free from germs etc. Clean them by soaking them in warm soapy water for ten minutes. Post that, air-dry them before being put into use.
- Oxygen tubing which connects the cannula with the concentrator does not require cleaning. But check the tubes for any wear and tear, and it is advisable to replace them every six months or as per vendor recommendation.
Benefits Of Oxygen Concentrator For Seniors Citizens
Oxygen concentrators are getting too much traction by the people considering the harmful effects of polluted air all around us. They are acting as a boon for senior citizens, especially considering many airborne diseases in nature
With technological advancement, this concentrator has become too portable and can be kept in any corner to improve the air quality. The most common benefits of these types of mobile units are as follows:
- They are table-top oxygen generators which can be kept in any corner and even for general use at home. They ensure clean air for breathing, keeping old aged people safe from airborne pollutants.
- They can provide oxygen at 90% – 30% based on flow rate from 1 – 5 LPM and thus provide critical care to the people in need.
- These tiny units are perfect for relaxation and recovering from fatigue or exposure to high pollution that any person encounters daily.
- For easy control and seamless use, they even come with an LCD and buttons on the top of the device. Due to the user-friendly design, anyone can use them without getting dependent on others.
Safety Precaution During Use Of Oxygen Concentrator
There is some level of hazard associated with every piece of equipment, which can be fatal if not handled properly. Below is the list of precautions which need to be taken care of while operating an oxygen concentrator:
- While using an oxygen concentrator, make sure that you are away from open flames like candles, fire, or stoves, as oxygen is well known oxidising agent which helps other things burn in the presence of fire.
- Avoid smoking while using an oxygen concentrator or stay away from those who are smoking.
- Keep your equipment always in a dry condition as moisture or water can affect the shelf life of the equipment.
- Ensure to protect the equipment from aerosols-based products as aerosols can enter the filter and may damage them.
If The Oxygen Concentrator Is Not Working, What Should You Do?
If the oxygen concentrator is not working, refer to the manual, as every equipment manual has a separate section for troubleshooting.
Follow the instructions mentioned in the manual according to the fault, and you should be able to solve the problem. If the problem persists, it is always good to call a service engineer.
Cost Of Oxygen Concentrator
Oxygen concentrator costs are less than the recurring costs associated with oxygen cylinders and the medical bills associated with frequent hospital visits.
Also, oxygen concentrators are safer to use as compared to cylinder operations. The biggest advantage is that the patient does not need to go to the hospital every time and, thus, taken care of in-home. Considering all this, the cost of an oxygen concentrator turned negligible.
Also, these concentrators increase the overall air quality, thus serving multiple purposes at a single time and proving to be more economical.
Normal Oxygen Concentrators V/S Portable Oxygen Concentrators
There is no major difference between normal and portable oxygen concentrators except, as the name suggests, portable oxygen concentrators are table/movable types. Depending on their capacities and intended use, they can be used for medical purposes or overall air quality improvement.
They are comparatively lightweight, and most of them have wheels for better movement from one place to another. These concentrators are a better alternative for an oxygen cylinder, which is quite heavy, requires frequent replacement, has safety issues, and requires continuous follow-up to maintain their backup.
How does an oxygen concentrator work?
As the name implies, Oxygen concentrators are machines that concentrate the oxygen and provide them for further use. The input for oxygen concentrator machines can be atmospheric air or even a gas supply equivalent to atmospheric air. They remove nitrogen and enrich the input air into oxygen, which can be further used.
These oxygen concentrators are based on two different techniques for enriching oxygen: pressure swing adsorption technology and nitrogen separation membrane technology.
Can I take the oxygen concentrator for rent?
Yes, you can take an oxygen concentrator on rent, depending upon the service provider’s availability. Also, suppose you opt to buy them. In that case, this equipment is not costly compared to the recurring costs associated with an oxygen cylinder and the medical bills associated with frequent hospital visits.
What does an oxygen concentrator do?
As the name implies, Oxygen concentrators are machines that concentrate oxygen and provide them for further use. The input for these machines can be atmospheric air or even a gas supply equivalent to atmospheric air. They remove nitrogen and enrich the input air into oxygen, which can be further used.
How effective is an oxygen concentrator?
The oxygen concentrator is a proven method of concentrating oxygen and is widely used in the medical and industrial sectors. The oxygen produced is safe and can be used at home as well. Also, these concentrators have found more applications than oxygen cylinders as they are safer to use in case of any leakage. Due to safe operation; many users are now switching to concentrators from oxygen cylinders
Which oxygen concentrator is best for home use?
There are multiple brands selling oxygen concentrators online. Depending upon your requirement you can choose any one of them. There are models which are even battery equipped, hence can be used for outdoor purposes.
So, depending upon the need, you can choose among various models available online.
Is an oxygen concentrator the same as an oxygen tank?
No, both of them are different and serve different purposes. These concentrators are a better alternative for an oxygen cylinder, which is quite heavy, requires frequent replacement, has safety issues, and requires continuous follow-up to maintain their backup.