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Oxygen Patients

Home Care Specialists User Guide

Oxygen Concentrator, Oxygen Cylinder


Oxygen is a drug and has been prescribed by your physician.  An exact flow rate in liters per minute has been ordered to increase the oxygen level of your blood.  This flow rate must never vary from what your doctor prescribes.  Your doctor may have prescribed your oxygen for 24-hour use, use only during sleep, use only during exercise, or use only during acute episodes of shortness of breath.  Always use your oxygen according to your prescription.


Oxygen is not addictive. The more you comply with your prescription, the more benefits from it you will obtain.

Oxygen is not flammable, nor does it explode. However, oxygen will make a fire burn quicker. To avoid the chances of a fire:

  • Never smoke while using your oxygen.
  • Do not use open fire or flames near the oxygen concentrator.
  • Keep all electrical equipment (electric razors, heaters, blankets) at least 5 feet from your oxygen).
  • Keep away from sources of heat (stove, space heater, radiator, fireplace). Do not store on or near a heater, or any enclosed space.
  • Never use grease or oil on oxygen equipment. Keep equipment away from all flammable materials such as oil, grease, aerosols, paints, gasoline and solvents. Do not use petroleum jelly with oxygen. Use water-based lubricants to moisten your lips or nostrils, if necessary.
  • Never store any cylinder in closet or unventilated space Do not place your oxygen equipment in a small or unventilated storage area. Any venting oxygen could create a fire hazard. Large, unventilated storage areas can be dangerous as well.
  • Oxygen cylinder should never be stored or transported in the trunk of a car; and that the tank should be secured by a seat belt when in transit.
  • Never use oil-based face or hair creams, aerosol sprays, a hair dryer or an electric razor. It is possible in certain conditions that the combination of oxygen, oil-based toiletries and a spark from an electrical appliance, such as an electric blanket, hair dryer, electric razor or heating pad, could ignite and cause burns. Always use water-based cosmetics or creams.
  • Secure cylinder at all times in a base or cart. Oxygen cylinders need to be secured in a special base to keep the cylinder from falling over. The weight of the cylinder can damage property and people if it were to fall on something or someone. The cylinder valve could also be knocked off if the cylinder were to fall over. The high pressure coming out of the valve opening could then cause the cylinder to move about the room in a destructive, uncontrolled manner.
  • It is possible for you to be in a large room such as a restaurant where smoking is permitted as long as lighted smoking materials are not within five feet.

NO SMOKING. Do not permit smoking in the same room as your oxygen equipment. Place “No Smoking” signs on the front and back door of your residence and also at the entryway to the room where you will be using your oxygen.


The 21 percent concentration of oxygen in the air around us is enough for people with normally functioning lungs and hearts. However, a person with lung or heart problems may often benefit from breathing air that has a higher concentration of oxygen in it.

When the body does not get enough oxygen, a person may experience difficulty in breathing, fatigue, loss of memory, headaches and/or confusion. Using supplemental oxygen may help provide relief from these symptoms.


When Cooking:

  • Never leave a stove unattended. If you need to leave, even for a minute, make sure you turn the stove off. If food or grease catches fire, put a lid on the pan to smother the flames. Never use water to put out a grease fire!
  • Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove so they cannot be knocked over or pulled down.

When Using Electrical Appliances/Machines:

  • Unplug any appliance that begins to smell funny or produce smoke. Never use any appliance that has any exposed wires.
  • Never overload extension cords with too many wires.
  • Keep all extension cords out of high traffic areas.

When Smoking:

  • Never smoke while using oxygen or in the vicinity of your oxygen system.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Make sure that you never leave smoking materials (i.e., a lit cigarette) unattended.
  • Always be alert when smoking cigarettes. Avoid smoking while under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs that may make you drowsy.
  • Soak ashes in water before disposing them in the garbage can. When Using Heaters or Heating Systems Within Your Home
  • Make sure there is adequate room surrounding the space heaters.
  • Position heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable material.
  • Physically, keep a safe distance between yourself and a space heater.
  • Have heating systems and chimneys checked and cleaned once a year.
  • Do not leave flammable materials such as fuel within your home. It is a good idea to keep materials such as these outside or in a garage area.
  • Always have fireplaces covered with the appropriate protective products.

What to do Before a Fire Occurs...

  • Identify and determine the nearest emergency exit or exits within your home. It is important to always know the safest and quickest exit from any location you are in and it should always be based on your physical capabilities.
  • Install heat or smoke detectors throughout your home. Heat and smoke detectors can reduce the chance of dying in a home fire by approximately 60%. This device is important to have in your home. It is also important to make sure that your smoke alarms are functioning properly. Ensure that your smoke detectors are tested regularly in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher. For those who use wheelchairs, you might want to consider mounting a small personal extinguisher in an accessible place. This will be beneficial if you cannot “stop, drop, and roll” if your clothing catches on fire.

What to Do in Case a Fire Occurs...

  • Always test doors before opening them. To do this safely, use the back of your hand and reach up high and touch the door, the doorknob, and the space between the door and the frame. If the door feels hot, keep it closed and use a second exit if available. If the door feels cool, open the door slowly and exit, staying as low to the ground as possible. If it is impossible for you to stay low to the ground, cover your mouth and nose and safely exit the room as quickly as possible.
  • Exit your home as quickly as possible. Leave all personal possessions and belongings inside. These items are not worth your life. Do not use any elevators and do not go back inside after exiting your home.
  • If you get trapped in your room close all doors between you and the fire. Fill cracks in all open spaces so no smoke enters the room. If possible, contact the fire department and inform them what room you are in. It is also a good idea to use a light colored cloth and wave it out the window to signal the fire department when they arrive at your location.
  • If you own a cell phone, keep it with you at all times. Keeping it next to your bed at night, or even in the bathroom while you are taking a shower gives you a constant means of communication, even if you are trapped in a room and unable to reach a house phone.


Hands must be clean prior to handling supplies and solutions. Wash hands before beginning any procedure.

Step 1: Wet hands thoroughly with warm water.

Step 2: Use antibacterial soap.

Step 3: Wash hands for 1-2 minutes using a rotary motion and friction. Wash: Back of palm of each hand Between all fingers

Step 4: Rinse hands under running water.

Step 5: Dry on a clean cloth or paper towel.


The Oxygen Concentrator is an electrically operated device which takes room air and separates the oxygen from the other gases and delivers more “concentrated” oxygen to you. 

Oxygen concentrators are available in many different sizes and models, but they all have the same basic parts: a power switch to turn the unit on and off, a liter flow knob to regulate the liter flow to that prescribed by your physician, and an alarm to alert you to a power interruption or equipment failure so you can change to your back-up tank.

  • Plug the concentrator’s electrical cord into an outlet.
  • Keep back and sides of the concentrator at least 6 inches from drapes or walls.
  • Locate concentrator at least 3" from wall.
  • Use an outlet which is not controlled by a wall switch
  • Attach the nipple adapter (or “Christmas Tree”) to the concentrator outlet port and attach up to 50 feet of tubing to the adapter.
  • Turn the concentrator switch to “ON”.  It is normal for the unit to sound an alarm for a few seconds both as an “alarm test” and to tell you that the unit has not reached its correct operating pressure.
  • Adjust the oxygen flow by turning the liter control knob until the flow rate is set according to your doctor’s order.
  • Next, fit the nasal cannula on your face, making sure the prongs face upward and curve INTO your nostrils.


Note: Use extreme caution if you use a humidifier bottle with a portable system.  If the system is tipped over, water could run down the tubing into the patient’s nose. 


The intake filter should be cleaned weekly by washing in soapy water, rinse thoroughly, dry with a clean towel and reattaching filter to machine.

The nasal cannula should be replaced at least once a month.

The extension tubing should be no longer than 50 feet and replaced every 9 weeks or less.


Your concentrator has alarms which will tell you if the machine is not functioning properly.  Your technician will explain the alarms to you.  If you hear or see one of the alarms, call Home Care Specialists immediately.

If there is a power outage or machine malfunction turn the concentrator off, use your back up oxygen cylinder. Check that tubing is securely attached to the oxygen outlet and is not crimped, pinched, or obstructed by heavy furniture, chairs, etc.

THE OXYGEN CYLINDER SYSTEM (for back-up &/or portability).

With this system, oxygen gas is pressurized to a high level and stored in steel or aluminum cylinders. The pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). A full cylinder may have between 1800-2200 psi when first turned on. The higher the pressure, the greater the amount of oxygen that can be compressed into the space of the cylinder. This pressure gauge will show pressure gradually dropping as the oxygen is used.

Oxygen cylinders are available in various sizes. Depending upon the size of the cylinder and the amount of oxygen you use, the oxygen will last for different periods of time.

Patients needing a portable supply of oxygen use a smaller lightweight system. The weight of these portable cylinders ranges from7 – 18 pounds. They have capacities ranging from 240 – 625 liters of oxygen — a supply of 2 to 5 hours at 2 liters per minute.

Three different sizes of smaller cylinders are commonly available: the B cylinder, D cylinder, the E cylinder and the M6 cylinder.  The M6, B and D cylinders are smaller.  They are used with a carrying case with a shoulder strap. The E cylinder is a bit larger and is often used with a wheeled cart.

The oxygen is delivered to you through a nasal cannula or face mask. The tubing on the cannula or mask is attached to the outlet on the regulator.  Sometimes, an extra length of tubing may be provided. This will allow you to move about at a farther distance from your cylinder.


Your cylinder system consists of the following parts:

  • the cylinder, which stores the pressurized oxygen
  • the cylinder cart or stand, which stabilizes the cylinder to prevent accidental tipping
  • a regulator, which controls the flow of oxygen from the cylinder

The regulator consists of the pressure gauge, which tells you how much oxygen is left in the tank and a flowmeter, which provides the desired flow rate of oxygen.

Be sure the cylinder is secured in a pouch, on a cart or stand, away from heat, open flames, smoking or combustible materials.  If you have extra portable cylinders, they should be stored lying down out of the way.  We suggest you store extra cylinders under your bed.


  • Remove the seal from the post valve of the full cylinder.  Save the washer inside the seal.
  • If the old washer is faulty replace it with the new washer by placing the washer over the largest peg located inside the yoke of the regulator.
  • Attach the regulator to the cylinder by slipping the regulator yoke down over the post valve and aligning the 3 pegs inside the yoke with the 3 holes in the post valve.
  • Tighten the “T” bolt handle firmly.  If the “T” bolt isn’t secure of if the washer is faulty there will be a loud hissing sound when the valve is turned on as the oxygen escapes.There is no danger. Turn the cylinder valve off and tighten “T” bolt or replace washer as necessary.


  • Check that the main valve is open and that pressure is observed on the pressure gauge.
  • Check that the flowmeter is ON & adjusted to the prescribed liter flow.
  • Check that tubing is securely attached to the oxygen outlet and is not crimped, pinched, or obstructed by heavy furniture, chairs, etc.

Remember: It is your responsibility to monitor the oxygen supply to insure that you do not run out of oxygen.  A chart has been provided to assist you in determining when to order more oxygen. Call our office to order a new cylinder 1 to 2 days before you run out and when the contents gauge reads 500 psi.


Always keep enough oxygen on hand to last overnight and during weekends and holidays.Your oxygen flow is measured in liters per minute (LPM).

Average oxygen usage time in these tables is based on continuous flow rate. These figures are approximate and are to be used only as a general guide.

D Cylinder- Black tape
Contains 425 liters of oxygen
Liter Flow Per Minute1/23/412345
PRESSURE GAUGE READINGApproximate Time Remaining:
2000 psi9 hours 30 min6 hours 30 min5 hours2 hours1 hours 15 min2 hourNot Recommended
1500 psi7 hours 15 min4 hours 45 min3 hours 30 min1 hour 30 min50 min45 minNot Recommended
1000 psi4 hours 20 min3 hours2 hours1 hour30 min20 minNot Recommended
500 psi2 hours1 hour 15 min1 hour15 min5 min0Not Recommended
M6 Cylinder – red tape
Contains 164 liters of oxygen
Liter Flow Per Minute1/23/412345
Approximate Time Remaining:
2000 psi16 hours 30 min11 hours8 hours4 hours2 hours 30 min2 hours1 hour 30 min
1500 psi12 hours8 hours 30 min6 hours 30 min3 hours2 hours1 hour 30 min1 hour
1000 psi8 hours5 hours 30 min4 hours2 hours1 hour 15 min1 hour30 min
500 psi4 hours2 hours 30 min2 hours1 hour25 min15 min5 min
E Cylinder – Yellow tape
Contains 684 liters of oxygen
Liter Flow Per Minute1/161/81/41/23/412345
PRESSURE GAUGE READINGApproximate Time Remaining:
2000 psi6 days3 days1 day 10 hours16 hours11 hours8 hours4 hours2 hours 30 min2 hours1 hour 30 min
1500 psi4 days 12 hours2 days 6 hours1 day12 hours8 hours 30 min6 hours 30 min3 hours2 hours1 hour 30 min1 hour
1000 psi2 days 20 hours1 day 10 hours17 hours8 hours5 hours 30 min4 hours2 hours1 hour 15 min1 hour30 min
500 psi1 day 10 hours17 hours8 hours4 hours2 hours 30 min2 hours1 hour25 min15 min5 min


Your oxygen cylinders and regulator are durable, dependable pieces of equipment and will continue to operate efficiently with proper maintenance.

As necessary, you should wipe your regulator, cylinder and/or carrying case with a clean, damp cloth. Never use wax, cleaning sprays or polish. Many of these products are flammable.

Never use any grease, oil or other lubricants on your regulator.  These compounds are volatile and could pose a safety hazard.

Never attempt to repair your regulator yourself. Should you have any problems with your oxygen cylinder system at any time, call Home Care Specialists immediately.


Minimal care is required of your oxygen tubing and nasal cannula. You should discard and replace your nasal cannula at least once a month. Discard and replace your tubing every 90 days. Do not use alcohol or oil-based products on or near your cannula.


Always be aware of the amount of oxygen remaining in your cylinder.  Please call Home Care Specialists at least 24 hours in advance to order tanks. Place orders on Wednesday for a Thursday delivery so that you have enough tanks for the weekend. Cylinders are not routinely delivered on Fridays.


Early planning and careful preparation are the keys to an enjoyable trip. The following tips should help you plan and prepare for any trip.

Contact your doctor to make sure your proposed trip is medically safe and to obtain additional copies of your prescription.

Contact Home Care Specialists for assistance with getting oxygen refills along your driving route or at your final destination.

Have cash available to pay for oxygen refills or equipment.


  • Remind passengers not to smoke in the car/RV.
  • Securely fasten cylinders to prevent movement (usually a seat belt).
  • Keep one window partially open to provide fresh air circulation and avoid accumulation of oxygen.
  • Do not store oxygen in the trunk of your car.
  • Do not store oxygen in an area where the temperature will reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a recreational vehicle, do not store near gas or open flame.


Warning: Do not attempt to open the device for maintenance or repair. The regulator contains no user-serviceable parts.