Posts Tagged ‘pigtail’

Troubleshooting your humifidier

Friday, October 7th, 2011

We understand it can be frustrating and at times, scary when there is an alarm sounding from a piece of equipment that you rely on to help care for your child. That’s why we are here to help with video how-to resources that will have your equipment back up and running in no time.

In the video below PHS Clinical Education Manager and Respiratory Therapist Bruce Estrem, BA, RRT-NPS, LRT shows families caregivers and other healthcare professionals a couple basic troubleshooting tips for a humidifier that is used to keep the airway warm and moist.

Heater Wire Alarm

Heater Wire Alarm will sound if pigtail is not connected or not working, or if the heater wire button is turned off. The heater wire consists of the pigtail and the wires that go into the tubing to keep the air warm.

  1. Make sure the pigtail is connected to the wires in the tubing, if its not, your humidifier will give you the heater wire alarm. Resolve this by checking and securing the connection, if this does not solve the problem; replace the pigtail with the back-up in your yellow mesh bag.
    *Note- please call PHS at 651-642-1825 to exchange your non-working pigtail for a new back-up that will be kept in your yellow mesh bag.
  2. Make sure the heater wire button is turned on (button is on the unit) if it is not turned on you will get the connector alarm.

Temperature Alarm

Temperature alarm will sound if the heater is too hot or too cold.

  1. First thing you want to do is make sure you have airflow going through the circuit.
  2. If airflow is not the issue, the next step is to then take the temperature probe out at the elbow of the unit, wipe it down with an alcohol wipe and put back in place, you will want to do the same with the probe at the patient connection. That should resolve the temperature alarm
  3. If these steps still do not resolve the temperature alarm, replace the non-working temperature probe with the back-up from your yellow mesh bag.
    *Note- please call PHS at 651-642-1825 to exchange your non-working temperature probe for a new back-up that will be kept in your yellow mesh bag.

As always, if you have further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact PHS at 651-642-1825.

John’s Troubleshooting Tip of the Month: Fisher and Paykel humidifier alarms

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Maintaining Medical Equipment at Home

PHS understands how stressful it can be when a piece of equipment isn’t working properly, and we want to help resolve any issues as soon as possible for you. So, once a month, PHS Respiratory Therapist, John Sheahan will post a tip on how to troubleshoot a common error with a piece of equipment.

One of the most common and frustrating challenges nurses and families can face are problems with the Fisher and Paykel (F&P) humidifier. Our Biomed Department has found that the F&P humidifiers actually fail less than 10% of the time. Therefore when troubleshooting, start with these steps.

Fisher and Paykel Humidifier

For temperature probe or temperature alarms:

temperature probe, fisher and paykel humidifier, pediatric home service, phs

Temperature Probe

  • Check to make sure that there is airflow coming through the circuit.
  • Check to see that there is not a fan or a heater blowing onto the circuit that is either heating up or cooling down the gas being delivered.
  • Check circuit for kinks or excessive water in the tube as these can cause high temp alarms.
  • Check the two ends of the temperature probe (the end closest to the patient and the T-piece closest to the water chamber) for water. Clean both ends with an alcohol pad.
pigtail, fisher and paykel heated humidifer, alarm, error, troubleshooting, pediatric home service


For heater wire or connector alarms:

  • Check to see that the green light next to the Heater Wire button is lit up if you are using a heated wire circuit with a pig tail or not lit up if you do not have a heated wire circuit.
  • Check to see that all connections are plugged securely into the side of the F&P humidifier.

If none of the above steps resolves your problem do the following. Also, be sure to do each step one at a time to insure enough time to figure out where the actual problem is.

  1. Change the temperature probe.
  2. Change the pig tail.
  3. Change the circuit.


  • To always call when the problem is happening.
  • To keep all faulty temperature probes and pig tails as they have warranties.
  • To let us know if you have faulty temperature probes or pig tails so we can replace them (there should always be two of each in the home).

John Sheahan, RRT-NPS, LRT, licensed respiratory Therapist, phs, pediatric home service, troubleshooting tip
John Sheahan, RRT-NPS, LRT is a Licensed Respiratory Therapist at PHS and would love to hear from you if you have a tip that you’ve found helps when working with your equipment, or have an idea for a Troubleshooting Tip post. Share your tip or idea through a comment here or an email to John at