Oxygen Concentrator Guide

This guide should help answer any questions that you might have before you decide to purchase an oxygen concentrator.

Q. Will Medicaire cover the cost of portable or home concentrators?
A. No, Medicare will not purchase a portable oxygen concentrator. They provide only a monthly rental benefit for oxygen equipment. No, Medicare will not cover a portable oxygen concentrator in addition to the oxygen tanks you most likely already receive.

Q. Can Oxygen Concentrators be harmful?
A. Despite what you may have heard, oxygen itself is non-flammable and will not explode entirely on its own. Now, if your oxygen comes into close contact with a fire, even a very small fire such as a candle, it can quickly help fuel the fire and cause it to get out of control.

Stay at least 5 feet away from heat or open flames while you are using your oxygen, that includes people who are smoking or using a gas operated stove. It's generally a bad idea to be around smokers, anyway. Put up a sign by the entrances of your home to warn people that you are using oxygen therapy.

Stay away from flammable chemicals while you are using an oxygen concentrator. Store your machine in an open room with plenty of ventilation and make sure it is completely off and unplugged while you aren't using it. Keep any oxygen tanks in an open room and without anything on top of them or crowding them.

Q. Why are Oxygen Concentrators so noisy?
A. All Oxygen Concentrators do emit a certain range of noise measured in decibels. As technology has progressed oxygen concentrators have started to become much quieter. The sound levels range from 31 to 60 decibel. That is the equivalent of a quiet library to conversation.

Q. Why are Oxygen Concentrators so expensive?
A. Reconditioned Oxygen Concentrators can be purchased for an average price of $450 including shipping and a comprehensive warranty. With an electrical usage cost of about $15 per month, and a lifespan of around 60 months, operational costs averages out to be actually very affordable at just under $1 per day.

Q. Why are Portable Oxygen Concentrators so expensive?
A. For people who need long-term oxygen therapy, the daily cost of solutions like a quality reconditioned Portable Oxygen Concentrato is much lower in comparison to other options such as Oxygen Bars, Oxygen Tanks, or cans of Oxygen. At less than $2 a day for a Portable Concentrator, the annual cost of an equally portable solution to breathing difficulties averages at around $700. Many of the millions of Americans who have COPD need to receive at least 15 hours of oxygen therapy each day, the use of which can dramatically improve their quality of life.

Q. Which are the best Oxygen Concentrators?
A. The top rated Oxygen Concentrators for 2017 are the Respironics EverFlo 5LPM which is the lightest at only 31 pounds. Another top rated Oxygen Concentrator is the Invacare Perfecto 5LPM which is a very durable and long lasting machine. The best 10LPM Oxygen Concentrator is the Invacare Platinum 10LPM. At a robust 54 pounds, this machine is designed to run and last a very long time. Typical life span is around 15,000 hours or more of use!

Q. Where should I buy a used Oxygen Concentrator?
A. I would not buy a used Oxygen Concentrator from just anyone. You do not know if the machine is working properly. If the machine turns on and runs, that does NOT mean it is putting out the proper purity that you body needs! I would buy one from an established, reputable company with certified technicians. This way you know the machine has been properly serviced and works at or above manufacturers specifications. It should also come with a warranty to cover the costly repairs if the machine were to malfunction.

Q. Where should I buy a used Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
A. I would not buy a used Portable Oxygen Concentrator from just anyone. You do not know if the machine is working properly. If the machine turns on and runs, that does NOT mean it is putting out the proper purity that you body needs! I would buy one from an established, reputable company with certified technicians. This way you know the machine has been properly serviced and works at or above manufacturers specifications. It should also come with a warranty to cover the costly repairs if the machine were to malfunction.

Q. What are Oxygen Concentrators?
A. An oxygen concentrator (also sometimes called “oxygen generator”) is a medical device used to deliver oxygen to those who require it. It brings in ambient air from the room it is placed, compresses the oxygen in a filter called a Sieve Bed. The Sieve Bed essentially holds on to the Nitrogen in the air, and passes the Oxygen to the patient. The Nitrogen will be released back into the room. The air supply will never run out as long as the machine has a reliable power source.

Q. What are Portable Oxygen Concentrators?
A. A portable oxygen concentrator is a medical device used to deliver oxygen to those who require it. It brings in ambient air from the room it is placed, compresses the oxygen in a filter called a Sieve Bed. The Sieve Bed essentially holds on to the Nitrogen in the air, and passes the Oxygen to the patient. The Nitrogen will be released back into the room. The air supply will never run out as long as the machine has a reliable power source, either by plugging it into the wall or using the supplied battery.

Q. What airlines allow Oxygen Concentrators?
A. Most major airlines allow the use of Oxygen Concentrators while in flight. It is always the best idea to call ahead and prescreen for any questions or concerns before your flight. The airline may also require you to bring certain documentation to make your screening process quick and easy.

Q. How long do Oxygen Concentrators Last?
A. Oxygen Concentrator life span is based off many factors. Variables like temperature, relative humidity, cleanliness of the room it is in, and how often it is used. We have seen that older and heavier machines tend to last longer, typically around 15,000 to 20,000 hours of use before the machine would need to be rebuilt again. Newer, lighter machines, while still reliable, last around about 8,000 to 10,000 hours. Most of the time the parts are smaller and tend to wear out quicker.

Q. How long do Portable Oxygen Concentrators last?
A. Portable Oxygen Concentrator life span is based off many factors. Variables like temperature, relative humidity, cleanliness of the room it is in, and how often it is used. Typical life span appears to be around 1,500 to 2,000 hours of use. Since most people typically use their POC seldomly, they can last several years before needing much repair.

Q. How noisy are Oxygen Concentrators?
A. All Oxygen Concentrators do emit a certain range of noise measured in decibels. As technology has progressed oxygen concentrators have started to become much quieter. The sound levels range from 31 to 60 decibel. That is the equivalent of a quiet library to conversation.

Q. How to use an Oxygen Concentrator?
A. Using an Oxygen Concentrator is very easy, following this guide.

  • Care for the air inlet filter: Wash it in soapy water when it becomes dirty. Rinse it clean, and pat it dry before reinstalling it in the oxygen concentrator.
  • Check the alarm: If your oxygen concentrator has this feature, make sure it’s in working order. If the buzzer does not sound when you push your power switch, call your oxygen provider for assistance.
  • Set the flow meter: Your health-care provider should show you how to set your prescribed flow for your needs.
  • Check the humidifier: Refill the bottle with distilled water when it runs low, which might be once or more per day.
  • Use your oxygen concentrator: Hook up the tube, plug in the concentrator, press the power button and put on the breathing device to begin receiving oxygen.

Q. How safe is an Oxygen Concentrator
A. Despite what you may have heard, oxygen itself is non-flammable and will not explode entirely on its own. Now, if your oxygen comes into close contact with a fire, even a very small fire such as a candle, it can quickly help fuel the fire and cause it to get out of control.

Q. Are Oxygen Concentrators Flammable?
A. Despite what you may have heard, oxygen itself is non-flammable and will not explode entirely on its own. Now, if your oxygen comes into close contact with a fire, even a very small fire such as a candle, it can quickly help fuel the fire and cause it to get out of control.

Q. Are Oxygen Concentrators covered by Medicare
A. Yes, your Medicare oxygen benefit covers the cost of portable oxygen. However, the portable oxygen benefit can be satisfied with small liquid tanks, larger gaseous tanks, or a portable oxygen concentrator. Regardless of the equipment provided, Medicare pays the same amount of money each month to the homecare.

Q. Are Oxygen Concentrators allowed on Airplanes?
A. A. Most major airlines allow the use of Oxygen Concentrators while in flight. It is always the best idea to call ahead and prescreen for any questions or concerns before your flight. The airline may also require you to bring certain documentation to make your screening process quick and easy.

Q. Are Oxygen Concentrators Dangerous?
A. Despite what you may have heard, oxygen itself is non-flammable and will not explode entirely on its own. Now, if your oxygen comes into close contact with a fire, even a very small fire such as a candle, it can quickly help fuel the fire and cause it to get out of control.

Q. Are Oxygen Concentrators Noisy?
A. All Oxygen Concentrators do emit a certain range of noise measured in decibels. As technology has progressed oxygen concentrators have started to become much quieter. The sound levels range from 31 to 60 decibel. That is the equivalent of a quiet library to conversation.

Q. Are Oxygen Concentrtors allowed in Hotels?
A. Yes, hotels generally allow you to bring your Oxygen Concentrator with you. It is a medical necessity and they cannot deny service due to your needs for it. Call in advance and let them know you will bring it. They may choose to move your room to a quieter section of the hotel so the sound of the concentrator running may not disturb other patrons.

Q. Are Portable Oxygen Concentrators tax deductible?
A. If you need an oxygen concentrator, bottled oxygen, or Cpap machine to treat a medical condition, then yes, that expense is deductible as a medical expense. Medical expenses are only deductible if you itemize deductions, and are only deductible in the year paid.

Q. Are there quiet oxygen concentrators?
A. Yes! There are some models of Oxygen Concentrator, namely the Invacare Perfecto W, and the Respironics EverFlo Q that are the quietest of the quiet. They generally include a better exhaust muffler as well as additional interior noise cancelling foam. The generally run at about the same noise level as your home refrigerator.

Q. Do you need a prescription for Oxygen?
A. Like other medications, supplemental oxygen is a medical treatment and treatment is specific to the user1. Your doctor may prescribe an oxygen flow rate, as well as the length of time you should use the oxygen each day. 

Your doctor will provide you with a description. In order to be valid, your prescription should include the following:

  • Specifics regarding the duration of oxygen use and flow.
  • Defined delivery device, often a nasal cannula or oxygen mask.
  • Defined oxygen source ie: Oxygen Concentrator or Oxygen Tank
  • Medical Coding necessary for insurance billing
  • Documentation to support medical guidelines
  • Information for your oxygen provider, including which equipment and oxygen services need to be delivered to your home, and their frequency
Q. What are side effects of being on Oxygen?
A. Even though it is considered safe, some patients may still experience some side effects of oxygen therapy. An experienced medical professional must always administer the treatment.

These are some of the side effects of oxygen therapy:

  • Bloody nose or skin irritation where oxygen is administered
  • Morning headaches
  • Fatigue
While not a medical side effect, oxygen therapy poses a fire risk. Oxygen is not explosive, but it can intensify a fire. It’s important to follow all safety precautions outlined by the medical device manufacturer. 
Q. How long will Medicare pay for Oxygen?
A. You pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount, and the Part B deductible applies.

If you have Medicare and use oxygen, you’ll rent oxygen equipment from a supplier for 36 months. After 36 months, your supplier must continue to provide oxygen equipment and related supplies for an additional 24 months. Your supplier must provide equipment and supplies for up to a total of 5 years, as long as you have a medical need for oxygen.

The monthly rental payments to the supplier cover not only your oxygen equipment, but also any supplies and accessories like:

  • Tubing or a mouthpiece
  • Oxygen contents
  • Maintenance
  • Servicing
  • Repairs
Q. How much does it cost to buy an oxygen tank?
A. Buying a large metal oxygen tank can be costly in the end. While the cylinder itself may only cost up to $300 depending on size, the cost to refill it when needed will be anywhere from $25 to $40 per fill, and can be a burden depending on how  many times you end up filling it.
Q. Can you die from too much oxygen?
A. Please consult with your Doctor on this question. Every patients needs and bodies are different.

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