Portable Oxygen Concentrator Maintenance

Your portable oxygen concentrator is your lifeline, and it is how you keep active and breathing comfortably every day. And because portables are vital to everyday life, we are frequently asked, “What type of maintenance is needed on my portable oxygen concentrator?”

Portable oxygen concentrators just like any other machine require regular maintenance and service to make sure it operates correctly. To assist with this question, we have developed a general maintenance guide for portable oxygen concentrators.

General Portable Maintenance

To begin with, for all portable oxygen concentrators the following maintenance should be performed routinely:

1. On a weekly basis ensure the unit is clean – not accumulating dust, dirt or other household debris (like pet fur). A dry or slightly damp cloth can be used to wipe down the exterior of the machine.

2. Weekly inspect Gross Particle Filters (GPF) if the unit has one – if dirty remove from the unit, run under warm sink water to clean, let dry and reinstall. GPFs catch “gross” (large) objects (i.e., pet fur) so if the filter looks visibly dirty: it’s dirty, but if it looks like new it can be left alone.

3. Ensure unit runs at least 10 hours per month because this will ensure lubricants continue to move and sieve bed stays active. Running of the machine doesn’t have to be consecutive.

4. Change the cannula monthly, as well as any additional tubing.

5. Roughly quarterly inspect and replace HEPA filter if present. These are generally in clear housings if they look dirty change them. Some environments may allow less regular changes; some may require more frequent changes.

Educate yourself with our Free Oxygen Therapy Guide

Additional Portable Maintenance

On a quarterly basis run the battery all the way down and then recharge fully before next use – this prevents battery memory issues and ensures the long operation life of the battery.

  • If you own multiple batteries a simple rotation as the primary battery will assist in making sure the batteries are fully cycled. For example if you own three batteries use Battery #1 during January, Battery #2 during February, and Battery #3 during March. In each month if you run that battery all the way down and then fully charge again, you can be confident they are fully cycled.
  • Always store batteries fully charged and in a cool, dry, dark place. If you don’t operate your portable concentrator on a regular basis, using the concentrator to drain the battery completely and then fully charge again will both ensure the unit is used enough each month and the battery has been cycled.

If you primarily use your portable to travel and not for everyday use keep in mind that concentrators operate the best when they are frequently run. Two months before your trip you should test your concentrator to ensure it is not having any issues. Prolonged storage is a common cause of problems that require factory servicing, testing this far out from your trip ensures any such servicing can be completed stress-free before your trip.

All portables measure your breathing on Pulse Mode. However, some do continuous flow as well. Although the time varies by each unit, if the machine cannot detect your breathing for 30-60 seconds it will alarm with a message instructing you to check your cannula, and that it cannot detect your breath (the exact error message will vary by unit type). If this occurs don’t panic – the unit will automatically puff to ensure delivery until it can detect your breathing again. Taking a deep breath in and out through your nose will usually silence this alarm. It is rare, but if you cannot get this alarm to go away contact Customer Support.

Inogen Sieve Beds

On all Inogen units with removable sieve beds (columns) the alarm message is different but will occur 30 days before the replacement is required – there is no rush to change these out, so you do not need to pay for overnight shipping.

Maintenance Summary

Remember that all environments are different and different people will experience different routine needs. Altitude, humidity, temperature variation and extremes, flora and fauna, the frequency of use, and output are all factors in how often a concentrator will require cleaning and sieve bed replacement.

If you believe your concentrator is not working properly, please give our Customer Support Team a call at 1-877-303-9289 and we will happily help. For information on home units, view our Home Oxygen Concentrator Maintenance Guide.

Leave a Comment