How to Clean an Oxygen Concentrator Inlet Filter

One of the most significant advantages of oxygen concentrators is the lack of those bulky, heavy and conspicuous oxygen tanks. Instead of dragging around an oxygen tank, your concentrator provides oxygen in a mobile, discreet, and powerful unit. That convenience does come with some small maintenance, but cleaning and maintaining an oxygen concentrator is straightforward and simple — including the all-important filter.

Oxygen Filter: What It Does

One of the first steps, an oxygen concentrator takes to supply you with oxygen is drawing in the air from around you. That air contains dust, pollen, pet hair, mites and many other air contaminants that must be filtered out before it enters the machine. The inlet filter also called the gross particle filter, takes care of the “contaminated” air, removing all these particles from the air before it becomes pure, clean oxygen.

3 Steps to Cleaning the Inlet Filter

Because the inlet filter traps all contaminants, it can become dirty — and a dirty, clogged filter won’t be able to draw in air or properly filter the air it does manage to draw in. The general rule is to clean the oxygen concentrator’s inlet filter weekly, but you should check the unit’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations. You may want to give the filter an extra wash if you notice any buildup or have recently been to an especially dusty place.

Step 1: Locate and remove the filter. The filter is usually located on the side or back of the machine, but check your manual to determine its location as well as how to properly remove it. The filters are made to be easily removed by its users, so if you are having trouble, double-check the manual or contact us at 877.774.9271.

Note that you should never run the oxygen concentrator without a filter in place. If you need to use the unit while cleaning the filter, insert a replacement filter. Continue to use the replacement filter, rotating the two until they need to be replaced.

Step 2: Run the filter under warm tap water. Simply flush out all those particles with running water. Soap is not necessary — the wrong soap, such as hand soap, might even leave a film — but for particularly stubborn spots, you can use a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent. To use detergent, add a tiny amount and gently rub it into the filter with your fingers under the running water.

A very dirty filter may need more attention. Fill a small tub with warm water and a small amount of dishwashing detergent. Submerge the filter in the tub, swishing it around gently to dislodge particles. Using a soft, lint-free cloth, scrub until clean.

Step 3: Let the filter dry. Set the inlet filter on a clean paper towel in a well-ventilated room out of reach of any pets or curious fingers. Make sure that the filter is completely dry before reinserting it into your machine.

You can also take some time while it is drying to examine the filter for wear and tear. If you see anything such as a small rip or fraying, it is time to replace the filter. Filters normally last at six months to a year, and you should always have at least one or two replacement filters on hand. Check your manual to be sure that you are replacing and cleaning your filter at the recommended intervals.

One of the most critical steps in maintaining an oxygen concentrator is cleaning the inlet filters. Without clean filters, your machine can’t create the clean oxygen you need — so make sure that you take the time to clean the filters and replace them as needed.

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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