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John’s Troubleshooting Tip of the Month: Oxygen Concentrator

An oxygen concentrator is a machine that allows you to deliver the exact amount of oxygen your doctor has prescribed for your patient or child without the hassle of having to change tanks. The machine does this by filtering out nitrogen and other gasses from the air to create a higher amount of oxygen.

Sequel Eclipse Oxygen Concentrator (left) Puritan Bennet 590 Oxygen Concentrator (right)

Of course, with any machine, there can be problems. So if there is ever a problem with the oxygen concentrator always use a tank to make sure you are giving the proper amount of oxygen before going on to these trouble shooting steps.

If you get an alarm check:

  • that the power cord is plugged into a working wall outlet.
  • that the ball on the flow meter is not all the way up or all the way down.
  • that the intake filter is not clogged with lint. If so, replace with clean filter.
  • that the machine’s air intake area is not blocked by walls, furniture, or drapes.
  • that the oxygen tubing is not kinked or blocked.

If the alarm does not stop:

  • Disconnect tubing and bubbler if you are using one.
  • Turn machine off if still giving alarm.
  • Look for one of the above causes of the alarm.
  • Wait ten minutes for the machine to cool down.
  • Turn machine back on and adjust as needed.
  • Call PHS at 651-642-1825 if machine is still not working.

Always make sure you have enough oxygen tanks in case of power outages and equipment failure. Your PHS clinician will help you calculate the right amount.

John Sheahan, RRT-NPS, LRT, licensed respiratory Therapist, phs, pediatric home service, troubleshooting tipJohn 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

Originally published: July 5, 2011
Showing 2 comments
  • Mary C.
    Reply to Mary C.Comment ID#: 366

    Good tips John. These machines are great, but as my grandmother tells me, they do have their occasional hiccups and having some troubleshooting tips on hand is helpful.

  • Medical Supplies
    Reply to Medical SuppliesComment ID#: 553

    There is not much difference in between the two , The main difference between the Oxygen Concentrator and liquid oxygen tank is the type of delivery. The concentrator delivers oxygen only when the patient is in the process of inspiration, and not be paid anything when the patient is in the process of exhalation.

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