Cleaning the Filter in Your Oxygen Concentrator

The cabinet filters, other wise known as the intake filter, are made so that you don't have to replace them very often. The filter that came with your oxygen concentrator, depending on how often you use it, will last you anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

You will, however, need to keep it clean so that the machine will continue working properly. In most oxygen concentrators, this filter is easy to remove from the machine and easy to clean. It's important to keep this oxygen concentrator filter clean at all times not only to protect the machine, but to prevent things like hair, dust and dirt debris from entering the machine to be breathed in.

Question: How do you clean the intake filter?

Answer: First, make sure the machine is off and unplugged while you remove the cabinet filter door and remove the filter. Refer to your owners manual to locate the filter, and how to remove it. If you need constant oxygen, you should have a second filter that you can replace the first one with while the other is being cleaned. This is a convenient method for anyone, though, since you won't feel rushed to get it cleaned.

Run the filter under tap water to remove the dirt. Using soap is unnecessary, and can leave a residue on the filter. Some gentle detergents might be safe to use, such as a mild dish washing liquid in a small amount. For a very dirty filter, put some warm water in a clean plastic tub, add 1 teaspoon of mild dish liquid and use a soft, lint-free cloth to scrub the filter clean.

Set the filter on a clean paper towel to dry in a safe, clean, dry place. Allow it to dry completely before you put it back inside the machine.

Question: How often should I clean the filter?

Answer: Once a week should be sufficient, but if you've taken your concentrator to dusty places, or if you were outside and there was a lot of pollen in the air, you may need to clean it sooner. You may be able to tell just by looking at the filter – you will be able to see tiny particles or hairs stuck to the filter.

Question: When should I buy a new filter?

Answer: Having one or two extra filters on hand will save you from rushing into buying a new one when the old one begins to show its wear and tear.

If the filter begins to tear even slightly, it's time for a new one. Any tears or holes in the filter mean its no longer doing its job properly, because more particles are able to enter the machine – this bad news for both you and the oxygen concentrator.

If the filter feels thinner and bends more easily than before, it's too weak to hold back the particles in the air and needs replaced. If you use constant oxygen, you may need to replace the filter as often as every 6 months. If you only use it for a few hours a day, you might not need to do it for 12 months or more.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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