Oxygen concentrators are devices which have many applications in the healthcare profession. Oxygen concentrators are used as an alternative to tanks of compressed oxygen. Medical oxygen concentrators are used to provide oxygen to a patient at substantially higher concentrations than those of ambient air. Oxygen concentrators are used to provide a dependable source of oxygen when administering anesthetics and they are also needed for resuscitation.
Oxygen concentrators are stationary, electrical units that take nitrogen from the air around you and provide a streaming flow of oxygen. Oxygen concentrators are less expensive than liquid oxygen and are the most cost-effective source of oxygen therapy. It almost goes without saying that oxygen is one of the most basic medications we have. In many acute illnesses (i.e. acute respiratory infections, asthma, fetal asphyxia, shock, etc.) the availability of an oxygen supply can save a person’s life. Oxygen has been traditionally supplied in bulky, expensive cylinders that are difficult and potentially dangerous to transport. However, with the innovation of oxygen concentrators, such hazards have been eliminated. And now that portable oxygen concentrators are available to the public, they are being widely used for home therapies. In fact, the largest application of oxygen concentrators in healthcare has been in the provision of portable, home-use machines designed to provide long-term oxygen therapy to people with chronic lung diseases. The main reason for this innovation was the dramatic cost savings which could be achieved. The purchase price of a concentrator is about half the cost of a year's supply of oxygen from cylinders.
Oxygen concentrators work by taking regular, ambient air and producing oxygen from it. Regular air typically consists of 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. The concentrator extracts the nitrogen molecules from the air, thus producing oxygen that is approximately 87% – 95% pure.
The concentrator takes the air, compresses it to 20 PSI, and filters it into a canister containing zeolite granules. These granules absorb the nitrogen and the residual oxygen is then available for use. The compressed air is diverted to a second canister where the process is repeated, enabling the flow of oxygen to continue unimpeded. While the pressure in the second canister is at 20 PSI, the pressure in the first canister is decreased to zero. This allows the release of nitrogen from the zeolite, thereby returning it to the atmosphere. The zeolite is then regenerated and ready for the next cycle. By alternating pressures in the canisters, a constant supply of oxygen is produced while the zeolite is continually being regenerated.
Beyond the technical jargon, oxygen concentrators are dependable and easy to maintain. Though the concentrator's instruction manual will tell you what maintenance is necessary, here are some general guidelines to follow:
- The concentrator needs good, clean air to operate properly so operate the concentrator in a well-ventilated area. If using it while in a small room, car, or other restrictive environment, be sure to open a window.
- Wash the filters weekly.
- Replace the filters yearly.
- Have an oxygen provider examine your concentrator at least once a year.
There are also some very important safety issues to be mindful of. Oxygen is the most dangerous in the presence of fire. Do not allow anyone to smoke around the machine, keep flammable materials safely away, and do not allow any heat sources to be near a working oxygen concentrator.
From new, used & reconditioned oxygen concentrators we carry a wide selection to choose from. After browsing our on-line catalogue, please call our customer service department toll free at 1-877-706-4480 for further assistance or if you have any questions.