Oxygen Concentrator Guide

How Oxygen Concentrators Work

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device used to help people who have low levels of oxygen in the blood. Without an adequate oxygen supply, people could suffer from various issues. A battery or electrical outlet must power them. If a battery is used, it must be charged through the outlet. Most oxygen concentrators have an adapter to use them while you drive to still receive power.

The oxygen concentrator gets air, purifies it, and distributes it back to the person. Before going into the concentrator, air is 20 percent oxygen and 80 percent nitrogen. However, the oxygen concentrator uses the air and puts out up to 95 percent of pure oxygen with only 10 percent nitrogen. Ultimately, the nitrogen from the air is separated to provide more oxygen to the patient because it’s hard to receive that medical-grade oxygen without the right device. Oxygen concentration is key for healthy living.

Five-Step Process

  1. Take ambient air from the space around you when you have low oxygen.
  2. Compress the oxygen.
  3. Remove nitrogen from the surrounding air.
  4. Adjust how the air is delivered.
  5. Provide purified oxygen.

How Oxygen Concentrators Work

How does an oxygen concentrator work? Many people wonder, and there are various parts to make up the portable oxygen concentrator. Typically, the molecular sieve bed filter and compressor are the primary components.

The compressor compresses the air that is filtered to the concentration, delivering oxygen in a continuous flow. Then, the compressed air moves to the molecular sieve bed filter. This plays an essential role because it is the device that removes nitrogen from the air. Zeolite is in the sieve bed, and it’s a six-sided cube with tiny holes on all sides, which removes the nitrogen from your air.

Two sieve beds are found in the portable oxygen concentrator. After the air is compressed inside, it’s forced into the first sieve bed. Then, oxygen is sent to the tank. The first bed is filled with nitrogen. That means the gas flow gets switched, so the air moves to the next bed. Now, the first bed’s compressor is sent to an outside room while the air from the tank goes to the first bed.

It might not be easy to understand how an oxygen concentrator works, but it is important.

The drop in pressure from the sieve beds weakens the oxygen and forces the machine to release nitrogen. Both come together and get released into the room as normal air. That’s compressed and sent to the second bed to deliver oxygen through the product tank.

Flow oxygen is essential because it must continue the process many times to produce enough air. There’s also a cooling system to ensure that the product doesn’t overheat. The nasal cannula delivers purified oxygen after it’s been passed through all the filters. With that, the cannula or mask improves absorption and pressure swing adsorption at the right pressure.

How does the oxygen concentrator work? Typically, portable versions have pulse dose oxygen or a continued flow. The pulse dose mode is used for daytime and delivers air when you inhale. They often have a better battery life. However, those who need oxygen while sleeping might prefer continued mode, which can deliver 3 liters per minute (LPM).

What Are the Different Portable Oxygen Concentrator Options?

Continuously flowing concentrators are quite popular, and here are four types on the market. They produce 3 liters a minute. They’re usually larger than other styles and can weigh 18 pounds without accessories. Therefore, they require a cart to transport them.

Pulse dose varieties are much smaller and quieter. You can find many styles and brands, which we talk about later.

Why Are Portable Oxygen Concentrators Important and What Conditions Typically Require These Devices?

People who require these machines often have a lower level of oxygen in their blood. Their doctors prescribe oxygen therapy, and that requires them to use these special oxygen tanks.

Those suffering from sleep apnea, COPD, asthma, and other respiratory conditions often require oxygen therapy. In fact, portable or home oxygen concentrators are a better choice because they’re less dangerous than the normal oxygen cylinders, which can cause a fire if they rupture.

Oxygen concentrators don’t have those dangers associated with them. Plus, a home oxygen concentrator can create its own oxygen, and they’re highly popular so that people don’t carry oxygen tanks with them to receive medical oxygen.

Another reason to consider them is that they increase a person’s mobility. You can get the right oxygen levels without annoying oxygen tanks.

Typically, these concentrators provide the right amount of oxygen wherever the patient goes, even on an airplane!

Where Can People Buy Them and What Are the Typical Costs?

While you need a prescription from your doctor, you can buy your machine almost anywhere. Oxygen stores often have them in stock, but many people go online to purchase them.

With so many options out there, it’s hard to narrow down prices. If you want portability, expect to pay about $2,000 for it. However, if you only need it for your home, costs are usually between $700 and $1,550.

Some companies offer financing. With that, some insurance companies cover the cost of the concentrator, but this depends on if it’s medically necessary and what coverage you have.

What Are the Top Brands?

If you’re thinking about buying a system, it’s important to know the best brands of portable oxygen concentrators on the market.

Inogen One is the top-selling brand right now, and it comes with an excellent warranty. However, the Inogen One is quite expensive, and there are less expensive options out there.

For example, ResMed, Claire, and Philips Respironics are all top choices. Though everyone has heard of Inogen One, it’s not the only version!

Are There Ongoing Costs?

Since there are no tanks, you’re not replacing oxygen and buying more and more containers. However, an oxygen concentrator runs on batteries or electricity, so that must be factored in. The batteries don’t last forever, so you can expect to replace them infrequently.

Considerations for a rise in energy costs are also a concern. Plus, you may need to replace the mask, tubes, and other components.

Whether you choose Inogen or another brand, oxygen concentrators are a great tool to help you breathe easier.

Oxygen Concentrator Advice
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