How does an oxygen concentrator work

If you’re having difficulty breathing, an oxygen concentrator may be just what you need.

You may have heard of an oxygen concentrator, but do you know exactly what it is? Are you asking yourself “how does an oxygen concentrator work”? Oxygen machines provide relief to people who have low blood oxygen levels. They used to be bulky machines, which made it difficult for people who needed oxygen therapy to get the service outside of their homes. However, the modern oxygen generator is smaller, lighter, and designed specifically for portable use. In this article, we’ll talk about an oxygen concentrator and how it works. If your doctor has recommended an oxygenator or you think you need one, you can purchase one from a medical oxygen supplier.

What is an Oxygen Concentrator?

What is an oxygen concentrator? It is a medical device that delivers oxygen to individuals with disorders that affect their breathing. If the percentage of oxygen in someone’s blood is below normal levels, the oxygen machine gives them the oxygen they need.


The way an oxygen concentrator works is relatively simple. The machine pulls in air, and that air travels through a compressor. The compressed air goes into a sieve bed filter system that has two prongs. When the compressed air goes into the first sieve bed, nitrogen is removed while oxygen is forced into the tank. When the first bed is filled with nitrogen, the compressed air shifts to the second sieve bed.


Some oxygen and the surplus nitrogen from the first sieve bed is sent back into the atmosphere. The process switches back when the second sieve bed gets filled with nitrogen. This ensures the continuous flow of concentrated oxygen into the tank. The oxygen leaves the product tank and goes through plastic tubing to reach a nasal cannula or mask that helps the patient efficiently absorb the oxygen.


The diagram below shows a simplified version of the process:


How to Use an Oxygen Concentrator

If you don’t know how to use an oxygen concentrator yet, you may think it’s difficult. However, the process is so simple that anyone can do it. You just need to set up the machine properly, turn it on, and adjust it to the prescribed flow rate before putting on your mask or nasal cannula.


There are just a few things to keep in mind. Remember to:


  • Position the oxygen generator a foot or two away from furniture
  • Start the machine 15 to 20 minutes before you intend to use it so that it can begin distributing an accurate concentration of air
  • Smooth out any kinks or bends in the tubing before beginning your treatment


If you want low levels of oxygen, you can use the mask. For high levels, insert the nasal cannula.

How Much Electricity Does an Oxygen Concentrator Use?

Some people who are prescribed oxygen machines worry that their electricity bill will go up drastically as a result of continuous use. How many watts does an oxygen concentrator use? It depends on the type of machine you have. Stationary concentrators must be powered by a wall outlet, so they tend to use a lot of power. However, portable machines are smaller, so they don’t use as much electricity. Some can also be powered by a rechargeable battery or the cigarette lighter socket in your car. And some can charge and run at the same time when on DC power. 


A small oxygenator may use up to 120 watts, while a big, powerful option can deliver up to ten liters per minute with an average use of 590 watts. If you want to know the technical specifications of any device, reach out to the oxygen equipment sales experts at Summit Oxygen.

How Much Does an Oxygen Concentrator Cost? How Do I Get One?

Doctors often prescribe oxygen therapy for acute conditions like asthma and pneumonia or chronic illness like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, and sleep apnea. Our therapists may also recommend that you get a home oxygen machine if you’re struggling to handle Colorado’s high altitude. You may be saying, “Well, how much does an oxygen concentrator cost?” Maybe you’ve been googling “oxygen concentrator cost.” The answer is that it depends on the type of machine you need to get. If you or your loved one needs an oxygen concentrator, contact us for a professional consultation. We’ll assess your needs and answer all your questions about the cost of an oxygen concentrator.