Purchasing a portable or home oxygen concentrator is an investment. They cost anywhere from several hundred dollars up to a few thousand dollars depending on the make and model. Not only are you investing money into an oxygen concentrator, you are investing your money into a medical device that can improve your quality of life. Whether your concentrator was less expensive or more expensive, taking care of it should be a top priority for you or your caregiver. Take a look at our guide to maintaining your portable and home oxygen concentrators.
Cleaning Your Oxygen Concentrator
Generally speaking, oxygen concentrators do not require a lot of cleaning. The shell or cabinet of the oxygen concentrator should be washed with a damp wash cloth and mild dish soap. Do not use a cleaner on the outside of your concentrator. Simply dampen the cloth with soap and warm water, then wipe down the exterior of your concentrator. Most home and portable oxygen concentrators have exterior filters that can be removed. It is recommended by every oxygen concentrator manufacturer that you clean these filters once a week. To clean the filters you will need warm water and mild liquid dish detergent. Remove the filters from the concentrator and run them under warm water and dish soap. Once you have finished washing the filters, completely dry them and give them a thorough inspection looking for fraying, tears, holes, and crumbling. If you see your filter is damaged, replace it as soon as possible.
Nasal Cannula/Supply Tubing Care
Caring for your nasal cannula and oxygen supply tubing is just as important as caring for your oxygen concentrator. Oxygen supply tubing requires almost no care because it only connects the nasal cannula to the concentrator. However you will need to replace your oxygen supply tubing every 6 to 12 months. On the other hand, your nasal cannula does require cleaning on a regular schedule. If you are using oxygen 24/7 it is recommended you wash your nasal cannula at least once per week. If you do not require oxygen 24/7 clean your cannula as you see fit. To clean your nasal cannula wash it in warm and soapy water. After washing it in warm water and soap, rinse the cannula with a solution of water and vinegar (10 parts water and one part vinegar). Once you have completed rinsing your cannula with the vinegar and water solution, rinse the cannula again with hot water and then hang it to dry.
Humidifier Bottle Care
Not everyone uses a humidifier bottle with their oxygen concentrator, but if you do knowing how to clean and care for it is essential. It is recommended that you clean your humidifier bottle once per day. To clean it, wash the bottle with warm soapy water. Then you will soak your humidifier bottle in a solution of vinegar and water. This will remove any deposits that may be on the wall of the bottle. After soaking your bottle, be sure to thoroughly rinse it out and refill it. Before using your humidifier bottle again, check to make sure the lid is completely on and secure. This will prevent any oxygen from leaking out of the bottle, ensuring you get the correct amount of oxygen.
Storing your Oxygen Concentrator
Properly storing your oxygen concentrator is just as important as cleaning it. Not everyone uses their portable oxygen concentrator every day and sometimes patients have two homes with two different concentrators. In some instances, you may need to store your concentrator while traveling. Without storing the concentrator properly, you may harm the unit or its accessories. Take a look at these tips to properly store your concentrator:
- Store your concentrator in a cool, clean, and dry area. Exposure to extreme temperatures for an extended period of time can damage the concentrator. If you store the concentrator where dust builds up, you may end up clogging a filter or causing damage to the unit when you turn it on. (Be sure to wash your filters before you turn it on regardless of dust build up)
- If you are storing a portable oxygen concentrator and its batteries, make sure you deplete the batteries to about 50%. This will help prevent the lithium-ion cells inside the battery from dying.
- If you are storing your concentrator for an extended period of time, make sure you turn the unit on and run it for at least 8 hours per month.
- Do not store anything on top of the concentrator