Troubleshooting oxygen concentrator patient problems

Oxygen concentrators are reliable and effective machines for treating a myriad of respiratory conditions, including COPD. Sometimes oxygen concentrators can malfunction. We have some easy fixes for oxygen patients and their caregivers to try in the event of device issues.

When your oxygen concentrator is working normally, you’ll see a green light located next to the power switch.  

It is not uncommon for the red and yellow warning lights to display for 10-15 minutes upon turning the device on. This does not always indicate an issue with the device.

Power Issues

If you do not see indicator lights or the device won’t turn on: 

  • Check to be sure the device is plugged in to a reliable power source.  
  • If plugged in, is that outlet connected to a switch that someone may have turned off? Plug into a different outlet to see if concentrator will turn on again. It is recommended to plug device in directly to a wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip.
  • A constant alarm will sound in the event of a power outage. Unplug the concentrator and switch to emergency cylinder.  

Low output or no output

If you feel that you are not getting the usual amount of oxygen or oxygen is not flowing from the device at all, check the following:

  • Make sure tubing is securely connected to unit 
  • Check for kinks or knots in the tubing  
  • If using humidification, check humidifier bottle lid to be sure it is screwed on correctly and not cross-threaded, creating a leak. 

Warning lights visible & audible alarm

If the yellow indicator light is on constant, the red light is flashing and an intermittent alarm is chirping: 

  • Check for kinks or knots in the tubing 
  • Oxygen flow meter may be too low or too high; adjust meter knob back to prescribed setting.  
  • Be sure unit is 6-8 inches away from walls or furniture; allowing air to be drawn in to the concentrator and so overheating doesn’t occur. 

Humidifier bottle malfunction

Some patients require the use of a humidification bottle, as oxygen therapy can be drying to sinus passages. Sometimes if tap water is used instead of the recommended distilled water; you’ll find that the humidifier bubbler tube will get clogged with minerals found in tap water. This can cause the humidifier to malfunction. 
Clean the humidifier bottle or replace. Fill humidifier bottle with distilled water only.

Need help?

If the issue you are experiencing is not outlined here or the alarm is still audible after troubleshooting, please contact your home medical equipment provider.

For Health System Services patients; please call us 1-888-638-4477.
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