Oxygen Concentrators are made to run up to a certain capacity. For in home units, it is generally 5 Liters per Minute to 10 Liters Per Minute. In order to deliver medical grade oxygen of between 87%-96% purity, all the components inside the machine need to be properly matched! If you put a motor for a 5 Liter Per Minute machine in to a 10 Liter Per Minute machine, I am sure you can imagine it just won't work properly. Imagine putting a small car engine into a freight train, and expecting it to work! It will not! More on this analogy, a little later.
When you first turn your oxygen concentrator on, it will produce only 21% ambient air. As the machine runs, and you hear the rhythmic "breathing" sound of the internal components, the oxygen purity will slowly rise with each puff from the machine. After about 10 minutes of running, the Oxygen Concentrator will reach maximum purity, and at this time, if equipped, your Oxygen Purity Sensor will turn on and start monitoring the output of your machine. If the green light is on, then your machine is putting out at least 87% purity!
The higher you set the flow meter on your Oxygen Concentrator, the lower the purity will be. On a properly running 5LPM machine, you should expect around 90% purity when set to 5LPM. If you turn the machine down, the machine will run more efficiently and you may see the purity creep up to 96% which is about the maximum that any oxygen concentrator can possibly make.
If you turn your Oxygen Concentrator, either 5 or 10LPM, past the highest setting, you are now asking the machine to produce oxygen past what it was engineered for. Yes, you will feel more volume/quantity come out of the machine, but the purity will crash rapidly. This will cause the low purity light to turn on, and the machine will alarm. Not to mention the user will not be receiving the high purity oxygen they were prescribed! If you need more Liters Per Minute than your machine can provide, please talk with your Doctor about getting a high flow Oxygen Concentrator!
If you turn your Oxygen Concentrator too low, under the .5LPM line at the bottom of the flow meter, your machine will also alarm. At this setting, the machine thinks there is a kink in the oxygen tubing. The alarm is to alert the patient to check their hook ups to make sure everything is ok. Turning the flow meter up to at least .5LPM will resolve this issue.
To get the longest life out of your oxygen concentrator, please use it at the prescribed levels, and always keep it between the minimum and maximum lines!
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