And my oxygen concentrator is beeping . . . !!!

I’ve been running the after-hours phone calls for Howard’s for over a decade now and have heard about every phone call possible. I won’t spare you all of the details of most calls but I can tell you what the most common call complaint is, my oxygen is not working.

Oxygen Tubing: The most common source for Howard's after-hours phone calls.
Oxygen Tubing: The most common source for Howard’s after-hours phone calls.

Here is the question, why?  You have a perfectly good oxygen concentrator and all of a sudden it stops working. Now, in most of these instances it continues to run but it will start to beep telling you something is wrong with it.  Here are the top three reasons why it has stopped:

  1. The main reason a concentrator stops producing oxygen is kinked tubing. Think of a garden hose. When you kink it, it inhibits how much water comes through the hose.  The same happens with oxygen tubing and this is the case with about 80% of our phone calls.  The telltale sign this is wrong with the one’s oxygen concentrator is everything else runs fine and frequently there will not be a warning signal as frequently as soon as other problems.  You know this is the problem when the ball on the concentrator drops down below zero.
  2. The second most common problem with an oxygen concentrator is a beeping concentrator.  When it beeps, there can be a number of reasons why and the beep just means that something is not running properly.  This used to be Howard’s number one problem.  This moved down to our fourth most common problem once we started being very proactive in changing them. The manufacture for Respironics says they have to be changed once every two years but it is our policy to change them every six months or every time they come into our store because an affordable filter is cheaper than a 2am service call.
  3. Next is the beeping concentrator because of a patient or caregiver moving it too close to a wall.  This is primarily a problem with our Respironics Everflow since it has a flat back.  It can be moved directly against walls or drapes which can then block intake flow.  As a result the concentrator will then not be able to have air flow in.

This are the big three reasons your concentrator may beep. There are a few others but are rare.  We have had an occasional blown motor (typically after 20,000 hours), the sitz beds will get clogged (in this case the concentrator will beep but the purity will drop and it will need to be rebuilt), and there are a few other reasons too.

As always, make sure you do business with a local oxygen company that maintains a 24-hour on-call number and does business in your town.  Nothing is worse than having an oxygen problem and having to wait for the company to “ship” your replacement to you as is the case with certain companies.

If you have any questions about your oxygen service, give us a call at Howard’s: 654-9899

Erik Mickelson

Team Lead for Howard’s

8 thoughts on “And my oxygen concentrator is beeping . . . !!!”

    1. Nope. The only ones that will alarm are pulse dose portable oxygen concentrators if they are set for this. They will also alarm if you have a real low breath as well. This is a question for your RT (respiratory therapist).

    1. We can’t recommend anything without knowing why you are on oxygen. All vendors have RT’s (respiratory therapists) on staff and this is the perfect question to ask them. If your doctor specializes in respiratory they will know this as well. If it is a general MD or DO, she/he may or may not have the knowledge but try them as well. Good luck!!!

    1. More than likely it is a problem with your tubing. You should replace your tubing every week. As you stretch it out it gets narrower which could be your problem (think of a garden hose). It could also be your humidifier bottle. We never know until we start trouble-shooting.

  1. I have a invacare perfecto2 oxygen concentrator and it runs for about 15 sec then a red light and a non stop buzzer goes off. I sent it in to be repaired but it came back unfixed with a note low pure oxygen. Can this problem not be fixed? I now wonder if the medical place a gave it to fix even sent it in like they said they did. I figured it could be fixed some how????? Or can you sellmethe part to fix it?
    Thanks for your time

    1. Hi Kirk: It depends on what was causing the low O2. Without diagnosing it ourselves it is probably a faulty seal or a bad sitz bed. We always replace the seals first and then test it. Then if it still records a bad O2 we then replace the sitz beds. We do not sell O2 parts, it would have to be bought directly from Invacare or a store that specializes in like Glen Medical. Good luck!!!

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