Oxygen Troubleshooting – Why Would an Oxygen Concentrator Stop Working

Just like any other piece of electrical equipment, an oxygen concentrator can stop working due to technical issues or after it's gotten over a certain age. You might also have instances where it can malfunction due to an outside influence, with no problems in the concentrator itself.

If an oxygen concentrator is not providing oxygen, it could be due to several different reasons. The system in an oxygen concentrator is made up of a few intricate parts that all work together to purify and deliver medical-grade oxygen, so you can breathe it in.

However, before you call a maintenance technician, you can do some troubleshooting on your own to see if you can fix the problem yourself. Sometimes, the cause of a big problem can be a small and easy fix.

Safety Tips

First things first, let’s start with understanding and keeping the below-mentioned safety tips in mind before we troubleshoot.

  • Switch to a backup source of oxygen while troubleshooting the oxygen concentrator. The availability of a secondary source of oxygen is highly recommended by oxygen concentrator manufacturers for situations like these and power outages.
  • Do not disassemble the unit yourself. It could cause safety risks and invalidate the product warranty.
  • Keep the device away from sources of heat, smoke, and pollution.
  • Keep the device away from water or any liquid so that it’s not spilled over accidentally.
  • If you are in a car, unplug the DC power supply when the automobile is turned off. Not doing this will deplete your car’s battery.
  • Always use genuine manufacturer accessories and service parts. A counterfeit power supply may damage the circuit board, a carry bag not provided by the manufacturer may hinder the ventilation of concentrator and sieve beds bought from an unreliable source may adversely affect the oxygen purity levels.

Oxygen Concentrator Troubleshooting - Quick Solutions

Quick Solutions

Here are some do-it-yourself solutions to troubleshoot the oxygen concentrator issue:

If the oxygen concentrator is not turning on:

  • Turn the device on by pressing the power button twice. Some oxygen concentrators turn on by pressing the on/off button two times or holding down the button for a few seconds.
  • Make sure all the cords are connected properly. Moving around or accidentally stepping on the wire may detach it and block the power supply. Check whether the power cord is plugged all the way into the wall outlet and power adapter, and check that the power adapter is connected to the oxygen concentrator.
  • Check for any wire damage. Regular wear-and-tear may damage the power cord or compromise the insulation. If there is any damage, replace the cable with a new one.
  • The power supply adapter should be well-ventilated. An overheated adapter will shut down the concentrator.
  • Do not use an extension cord to power your unit as it may not provide ample power to operate the device.
  • When using a portable oxygen concentrator, see that the battery is properly installed.
  • If the battery is correctly latched and the device is still not turning on then disconnect the power supply, pull the battery out, connect back the power supply without the battery, and hold the power button to turn it on. Note: some devices won’t turn on without battery installed, even when the unit is connected to the power supply.
  • When traveling internationally, make sure that the input voltage of the power adapter is compatible with the power source.
  • Check whether the wall outlet is working and there is no power outage (a breaker may be tripped). If it’s not working, try another wall outlet.v

If the oxygen concentrator isn't working, even though it is turned on and the power light or control screen is lit up:

  • Make sure the nasal cannula is connected to the nozzle on the oxygen concentrator.
  • If using a humidifier bottle, make sure that the cannula tubing is connected properly.
  • Position the nasal cannula correctly on your face, or else the pulse dose will not work.
  • Ensure that the tubing is not twisted or bent.
  • Check whether the flow-meter knob is closed.
  • The device should be in a well-ventilated space.
  • When using a carrying bag, make sure that the unit is placed correctly and vents are not blocked.

Oxygen Concentrator Troubleshooting - Errors and Alerts

Oxygen Concentrator Errors and Alerts

After you've checked these possible causes and it's still not delivering oxygen, it could be due to an internal part failure. You can check the alert displayed on the control screen. Let’s see how we can troubleshoot some common oxygen concentrator errors and alerts.

  • Low oxygen alert - Check to see whether the airflow is being blocked.
  • Oxygen purity is lower than 80% - Make sure the intake vent isn't clogged or blocked. Turn the unit off and clean it, if necessary. The intake filter needs to be replaced or cleaned.
  • No breath detection – Check that the cannula is properly positioned your face and you are breathing through your nose. Check for any twists and obstructions with tubing. If the breath is not detected for approximately 30 minutes device shuts down to conserve power.
  • Low or empty battery – Attach the external power supply to recharge the battery or exchange the battery.
  • Battery temperature – If the battery exceeds the temperature limit, it won’t work. If you are in a hot place, it makes the battery warm quickly. Move to a cooler location.
  • System Temperature – Oxygen Concentrator will not produce oxygen when the temperature crosses the tolerance range. If the device is hot, move to a cooler area. Check that the air inlet and outlet vent are clean and clear. If the vents are blocked, then the unit works harder to maintain the airflow thus making it warmer. On the other hand, if you are in a very cold place, move to a warmer place. Wait for at least two minutes for the device to warm up before turning it on.
  • Other system errors – Check the user manual provided with the unit to troubleshoot or contact the equipment provider.

Performing a Hard Restart

Just like, sometimes, our smartphones require a hard restart to turn on, the oxygen concentrators may require it too. Though the situation is rare, here are the steps to perform a hard restart on a portable oxygen concentrator:

  1. The machine must be completely shut down
  2. Disconnect the power adapter
  3. Remove the batteries
  4. Let the unit stand for 20 minutes without power
  5. Plug the AC power into the machine – do not attach the batteries yet
  6. Turn the unit on and use it for 10 minutes on AC power
  7. Then, disconnect the power supply to put the batteries back inv

Hard Restart Video

Calling Customer Care

  • You can generally find the customer care number of your equipment provider on a sticker placed on the unit
  • If you are not sure where you got the unit from, then call the manufacturer customer care with the following information at your disposal:
    • Make and Model of the oxygen concentrator
    • Serial number
    • The problem you are facing
    • Whether you are currently traveling
    • Since when you are facing the problem

Preventative Methods

Maintenance of this medical device is critical for its flawless performance.

  • You can replace or clean the intake filter yourself. It should be replaced every 2 years and cleaned every 2 weeks. It can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water, and left to dry completely before being used again. If the filter looks worn out, it can be replaced sooner than the 2-year mark.
  • Another cause, that you might not be able to fix on your own, would be a weakened sieve bed. This is the component that filters the nitrogen out of the air to provide purified oxygen. The compressor might also be worn out and in need of a replacement.
  • It's important to keep up on maintenance, and we can help you with questions about maintenance and replacements when necessary.

Related Information

Updated: March 6, 2020
Published: October 26, 2015

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.

39 thoughts on “Oxygen Troubleshooting – Why Would an Oxygen Concentrator Stop Working”

  • Robin ervin

    What does it mean if comes with 16B code and won't turn on

    • Danielle Jason
      Danielle Jason June 5, 2017 at 2:45 am

      Thank you for your question, Robin. If you'll give our Customer Service Department a call at 877-303-9289, they'll be able to work with you to trouble shoot your machine.

  • Charlene sierra
    Charlene sierra October 7, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Yesterday my portable concentrator would not turn on...I was in the middle of no where with no backup..the fan was whirling but the machine would not turn on...what should I do...I don't trust it now

    • Danielle Jason

      If you are experiencing issues with your machine please contact our Customer Service department immediately at 877-303-9289. They will be able to troubleshoot and assist in remedying your machine.

  • Esther

    I have Imogen g3 portable concentrator it keeps saying low oxygen check manual

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Esther. Have you checked your G3 manual as it states? If you need an additional manual you can download one here: https://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com/portable-oxygen-concentrator-manuals/. If the message persists after you have gone over the trouble shooting steps in your manual you can reach out to our service department at 877-303-9289.

  • Diana Rumley

    We have an inogen one g3 unit that has stopped putting air out. The unit pumps and air does come out the top vents on machine, but none comes out of the piece that connects to the hose. Any ideas? Thanks you

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your question, Diana. Have you consulted your user manual? If that doesn't help to troubleshoot your unit's condition you're welcome to call our Service department at 877-303-9289.

  • Troy

    i have a respironics everflo l OPI, my question is , is it a real bitch to rebuild the compressor ? can it be done w/o special tools? let me no eh!

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your question, Troy. Here at the Oxygen Concentrator Store we no longer repair units in-house. For questions regarding rebuilding or fixing your machine we'd suggest contacting the manufacturer directly. If you'd like assistance in sending in your unit for repair, we'd be more than happy to assist you; simply give our Service Department a call at 877-303-9289.

  • Teri Galindo

    I have no alarms or lights on but after cleaning outside of concentrator I now have a noise like a vibration or motor noise how should I trouble shoot this, I recently replaced upper outside filter

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your question, Teri. If you'll give our Service Department a call they may be able to walk you through troubleshooting your unit over the phone. Calling them directly is a great way for them to be able to hear the concentrator running in real time and make suggestions based on what they hear!

  • Lauri

    I have a Respironics EverGo that is giving me an error code 02, which according to the manual, means that it is not putting out the selected amount of oxygen. The technician I spoke with on the phone thought it was likely due to a weekend sieve, but that it "should" operate, although not at fullest function, for the flight back home. I am on vacation and just need to use this portable concentrator for the flight home. There is nowhere to get it repaired or looked at where I am (in Hawaii). Do you have any recommendations, information, or thoughts about continuing to use it as is for one more day?

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Lauri. With this error code, it means as you mentioned, that it is not putting out the amount of oxygen the setting requires. This is a decision that you will need to make based on your individual saturation levels and what you are comfortable with and require medically. If your prescription requires you to be at lets say a 90% saturation level and your current saturation levels are not at 90% we would suggest contacting your provider or physician. Do you have a pulse oximeter so that you can check your oxygen saturation levels?

  • Erickson

    what may cause the breakdown on the oxygen concentrator

    • Danielle Jason

      An oxygen concentrator can experience issues for a multitude of reasons including, lack of proper storage, climate conditions, altitude, extreme temperatures, lack of proper battery usage and charging, etc.

  • Ibr Saleh khan
    Ibr Saleh khan April 16, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    I am electronics engineer ,i recive one oxygen concentrator problem this its produce high air but not oxygen I need help from your staff Thank you

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman April 17, 2018 at 5:36 am

      To better assist you with your G3 please give our Customer Service line a call at 877-303-9289.

  • Cliff Weiss

    We have 2 Respironic Everflo machines. A used older model we just purchased makes a puffing noise that the other machine does not. Did older machines make this puffing noise?

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman July 24, 2018 at 6:37 am

      Thank you for your inquiry. I have passed along your information to a specialist who will reach out regarding your request. For more immediate assistance feel free to give our specialists a call at 888-360-9628 or if you prefer email [email protected]

  • Susan talmadge
    Susan talmadge August 6, 2018 at 8:48 am

    I have an inogen one. I'm nervous because the service soon light stays on. If it shuts down, I'm in trouble.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman August 10, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Service soon is usually an indicator that some sort of maintenance needs to be completed. Please contact our customer care center at 877-303-9289 so that they can best troubleshoot your message.

  • Kamal

    I have innogen g3.the power button is not starting

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman January 2, 2019 at 3:26 am

      Please give our customer care center a call at 877-303-9289 so that they can help you troubleshoot your issue over the phone.

  • Syed Abdul Hai Andrabi
    Syed Abdul Hai Andrabi January 23, 2019 at 1:48 am

    my question is that "how i can know that oxygen concentrator has stopped working to supply pure or good supply oxygen"

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman January 24, 2019 at 2:39 am

      Your first indicator would be if the machine is giving you an error message or there is a yellow light indicator. Your manual should help you with this. The other indicator that you should be looking at is what your oxygen saturation level is by using a pulse oximeter. If it is below 95, then you should maybe look at having your machine looked at.

  • Sharon A Petersma
    Sharon A Petersma March 11, 2019 at 10:44 am

    My sister-in-law's inogen has a warning that is an yellow/orange emblem and manual says ? something with sieve ?

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman March 12, 2019 at 5:55 am

      I would recommend that you call the place where you purchased the unit from. If the group is under warranty, they will service it for free.

  • Kenton Trimble
    Kenton Trimble May 13, 2019 at 7:51 am

    I got an Ever Flow SN 0026173. REF 1020000 it runs great for about 30 minutes then the red light turns on & it quits I'm thinking it is overheating

    • Ed Rodgers

      Hi Kenton, It certainly sounds like you need to have you machine looked at or send it in for service. If you call our service department 877.303.9289 who can find out more and see if there is something that might help. Good Luck.

  • Sohail Khan

    I have EverFlo machine is running great but from this morning its beeping and red light is blinking continuously. Help me with this problem... waiting for your kind response.

  • Romualdo Ochoa

    My perfecto2 concentrator overheated now motor starts only if I hand turn it to start.whats wrong?

  • Marie Mcjunkins

    I have a evenflow concentrater it stay for 3 min and then off giving out good o2 when on can it just the filter need ro be changed

  • dowler

    my g 3 unit clicks constantly----drives me nuts---what to do?????

    • Sanket Jain

      There are a couple of ways to troubleshoot your Inogen G3. First, perform a hard reset. I've mentioned the steps below on how to do it. Second, go through the Inogen G3 user manual. Click here for the Inogen One G3 manual. Third, contact your equipment provider or the manufacturer.

      Performing a Hard Restart to Troubleshoot Inogen G3:
      >Turn off the machine
      >Disconnect the power adapter
      >Remove the batteries
      >Let the unit stand for 20 minutes without power
      >Plug the AC power into the machine – do not attach the batteries yet
      >Turn the unit on and use it for 10 minutes on AC power
      >Then, disconnect the power supply to put the batteries back in and use as usual

  • Luqman

    My problem in my oxygen concentrator is in filter .my question is how clean its and what kind of zeolite which used in it . When air input to apparatus is out the same how get the oxygen only. Thank you .

    • Sanket Jain

      Hi Luqman, oxygen concentrator takes in the air from the surroundings, filters out the nitrogen and then delivers the medical-grade oxygen through the nozzle. The filtered nitrogen is released via exhaust vents so that the patient gets only pure oxygen. If you think there is a problem with the filters, then clean the intake filters. If the device is still not working perfectly, then it might be time to replace your sieve bed columns. Please, contact your equipment provider.


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