Testing my Oxygen Concentrator

I have suspicions that the concentrator provided by my vendor doesn’t concentrate the 02 adequately (or at all).

Is there an easy home test that I could perform to prove it does or doesn’t provide the desired concentration of oxygen?

Reasons for thinking the thing doesn’t work properly.

Although emphysemic I have hardly used the Concentrator nor the 02 tanks for taking strolls through the neighborhood. The Vendor knows this. The last time the gal was here, she promised to come back and swap out my older clunker 02 Concentrator for a newer model. Instead, she sent a kid with a refurbished(?) old clunker.

That might have been 2 summers ago. Haven’t seen nor heard from them since. No one comes in to check the machine or supply new tanks. Which is understandable, I suppose. The fact is, I was a lot less sick than my doctor had suspected. No lie.

We discovered this when a new and heads-up nurse in his office gave me my walking test with the O2 sensor on my forehead, rather than on a finger. The circulation in my extremities ain’t so hot.) She’s the only nurse to have done that, and this test showed the 02 concentration in my blood is within the normal range.

The doctor was absolutely flummoxed when he saw the results. “So, I’m a lot better than we thought?” I asked exultingly. “Yes!” he answered, thoroughly red-faced.

Anyway, I called the Vendor this past Friday to see about getting a newer model, and after she brought up my file, I explained how I hadn’t used the machine much, but lately had been running it quite a bit. With that she uttered a quietly ominous, “Oh, oh,” as if to say “…this old son of a bitch caught us at last.”

I pretended not to notice and went on with my business.

So, The techie will be here on Tuesday, but before he arrives, I’d like to determine if they’ve been hosing me all this time (pun intended) with a concentrator that’s a piece of crap.

One last thing…

I get no feeling of wellness (for lack of a better word) when I use the oxygen. I remember the time I had pneumonia, was admitted to the hospital and placed in a an oxygen tent. Oooooh, it felt so good. I don’t get that with the machine or the tanks.

I’m unclear - part of the deal with a home oxygen concentrator is that someone needs to come out periodically (monthly?) to replace hoses and cannulas and such. And also check for proper O2 levels. Nobody has done this?


In their view, I’m the old codger whose doctor has prescribed a concentrator, etc., but who hardly uses it.

In the beginning I used the tanks (in a backpack setup) for walks through the neighborhood. But the oxygen didn’t help, particularly. The turn-around point of the stroll came at the top of a long (for me), gradual upward grade. At the top I’d touch the telephone pole and would turn around for the homeward leg. At that point, I’d be panting severely. It would pass and of we’d go - my wife and I.

But that’s part of my wonderment. Why doesn’t the O2 help? We didn’t walk fast. Yet people would stop and star at the old man, oxygen on his backpack, bent over with hands on knees, panting like he’s gonna die. It was very embarrassing.

My doctor had no explanation, for this phenomenon.

Get a new vendor now. Don’t delay.

Any health care vendor that is not following any type of maintenance schedule on something that may be crucial to keeping someone alive should have their licensing removed now.

They have a need to be PMSd at least every 6 months, tanks need to be exchanged at least once per year so the old one can be hydro’d and refurbished. Tubing, gasketing, diaphrams and lubing needs to be done at least annually at the longest.

Any chance of suing them for reckless endangerment?

Never thought of suing. Maybe I’ll look into it.

In the meantime…

I saw an ad on TV by an oxygen (and other products) Vendor, with
home2you in its name. Tried Googling but couldn’t find it on the web.

Anyone seen this company?

I suspect that if you don’t actually NEED the oxygen, it is not going to feel good.

I regularly use supplemental breathing oxygen while piloting my sailplane at high altitudes.
In the past, I have flown gliders equipped with regulators that permit 100% O2 delivery. In no case have I ever noticed any physiological or mental effect.

It is widely believed (sorry, I have no cite) that the mental effects of hypoxia are not noticed by the victim at the time of impairment. So I follow the regs, and set my flow rate per altitude, and as a precaution I will set the O2 on the rich side about 5 minutes prior to landing if I have spent a long time at altitude. As I said, I can’t say that I ever see a difference, but the idea is that I wouldn’t. I’m carrying the equipment anyway, and as a safety measure, my club provides oxygen at no charge beyond normal dues, so I don’t worry about if I really need it, I just use it.

Oh, I forgot to mention:

To test your O2 concentrator, capture the output in a small jar, allowing a few minutes of purge time, close it up.


Light a wooden splint (A toothpick, or a Popsicle stick, or similar) let it burn a bit, then blow it out. Quickly open the jar and put the smoldering splint into the jar. In a rich oxygen environment, the smoldering splint will immediately burst into flame. Since the concentrator doesn’t supply pure O2, you may only see an intensification of the smouldering, but it should be noticeable if the O2 level is significantly above normal.

You could call another oxygen supplier and get them to check the concentrator on their rival company. Sounds like another company might do a better job.

People’s need for oxygen is affected by other things going on – lung infection, fluid in the lungs, degree of emphysema… since people with COPD are prone to infection and sputum it is not unreasonable that you did need oxygen before and need less now. Really, an arterial blood gas would provide a much better measurement; in our neck of the woods this is what is required (for the governemnt to pay, if you’re footing the bill do what you please). An oxygen saturation is a very rough and ready measurement.

If you’ve been using it a lot, you may simply have nothing left in the tank.

Thank you for your post, but I truly need oxygen, particularly these days when I get winded. Fact is I have the equivalent of one lung, thanks to a long life of heavy smoking.

Next time I see my Pulmonologist, (tomorrow, I hope) I’ll try to get a straight and simple answer why I am this way. If I can I’ll post the answer in this thread.

Fantastic!! I’ll do it!!! Manana.