Discover The Basic Principles Behind How An Oxygen Concentrator Works

The air we breathe is made up of approximately 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and about 1% of argon and other trace gases.  Every cell in the human body requires a fresh supply of oxygen to survive.  Individuals suffering from oxygen deficiency often need some form of oxygen therapy.  Supplemental oxygen delivered to the lungs makes it easier for the body to absorb the oxygen it needs.  The means of providing oxygen has evolved as technology improves to meet the demands of convenience, cost and efficiency.  The emerging technology of choice is the oxygen concentrator.

Oxygen concentrators are the most commonly used home oxygen systems.  In fact, portable oxygen concentrators designed to provide long-term oxygen therapy to patients with chronic lung disease is the largest application of oxygen concentrators in the healthcare field.  They are frequently used as an alternative to compressed oxygen in tanks.  For many years, oxygen has traditionally been supplied in awkward cylinders that are difficult to transport and can be potentially dangerous.  The advent of oxygen concentrators eliminates these bulky tanks and the hazards associated with them, making them one of the most popular oxygen therapy systems.

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Exactly How is Oxygen is Extracted from the Air by an Oxygen Concentrator?


Oxygen concentrators provide a continuous flow of oxygen (or sometimes a pulse of oxygen as the user inhales) to the user without tanks or cylinders that require re-filling.  They are electric or battery powered oxygen delivery systems that extract some of the air from the room and separates the oxygen from the other gases.  This is a phenomenon referred to as adsorption.  Many concentrators feature a porous substance known as zeolyte.  Zeolytes are disposed to concentrate oxygen in the air by removing most of the nitrogen molecules.  The concentrator pumps pressurized air into a container of zeolytes to extract as much nitrogen as possible.  The oxygen concentrator uses ambient air as a source of oxygen by separating the oxygen, concentrating it (over 94%) and then storing it.

Oxygen can be received from the oxygen concentrator through a nasal cannula (a two-pronged tube attached to the oxygen concentrator) or a face mask, depending on the required flow rate and personal preference.  TIP: When using a cannula, be sure to use water-based lubricants on your nostrils instead of oil-based products like petroleum jelly.  Extra tubing permits the user the freedom to move around with minimal difficulty and portable units offer even greater mobility.

Why the Oxygen Concentrator is the Preferred Source of Therapeutic Oxygen Supply

  • Provides an unlimited oxygen supply as long as there is a power supply
  • Does not require refilling
  • Can be easily moved from room to room
  • can be plugged into your car’s A/C outlet for use during car travel
  • Minimal maintenance required

There are dozens of oxygen concentrators on the market with individual operational characteristics.  Each different model has its own particular way of extracting oxygen from ambient air.  Even though the level of oxygen concentration varies slightly from unit to unit, they all meet FDA requirements for “therapeutic oxygen”.

Most oxygen concentrators use a series of filters to trap particles from the room air.  These filters should be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis, so it is important to follow manufacturer recommendations.  Just about all oxygen concentrators feature power failure and high and low pressure alarms.  Whether it is outlet pressure dropping below an acceptable level or just a clogged filter, the alarm lets you know there is an internal problem requiring maintenance. 

Our Top Picks for Oxygen Concentrators

Oxygen concentrators offer users a dependable supply of oxygen without the hassles of oxygen tanks and oxygen deliveries.  There are a handful of portable oxygen concentrators that give you mobility and allow oxygen therapy patients to lead normal and active lives.  On this website, we have chosen to feature what we consider to be the two most advanced units:

  • The Inogen One Portable Oxygen Concentrator System
  • The SeQual Eclipse Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Don’t let oxygen therapy control your life; discover the freedom that an oxygen concentrator can provide.  Click on FREE CONSULTATION, and find out how you can obtain one of the most advanced portable oxygen concentrators.

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