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Oxygen Concentrators in San Diego: A Definitive Buying Guide
If you are looking for the best oxygen concentrator in San Diego, you are probably searching for an excellent starting point too. This is the place to be.
Oxygen concentrators are designed to meet the varying needs of people in need of oxygen supplementation more safely and conveniently. You’ll, therefore, find considerable technological differences between these machines and standard oxygen storage, such as pressurized cylinders and cryogenic oxygen tanks.
Buying the right oxygen generator is not the easiest of things. The fact that someone’s life is on the line indicates the need to make an informed decision when purchasing an oxygen concentrator. Furthermore, the equipment is an incredible investment that leaves little room for mistakes.
Several online resources touch on the subject of oxygen concentrators. However, it’s tricky for most buyers to merge all the information into something that will help them make an educated decision.
Consequently, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know when purchasing an oxygen generator in San Diego, CA. Sounds interesting? Read on to get started.
Who Needs Oxygen Therapy with Oxygen Concentrator?
Physicians recommend oxygen therapy for various medical conditions. The treatment is geared to aid the respiratory system responsible for absorbing oxygen from the air and distributing it to the bloodstream.
A doctor can prescribe a short-term or long-term oxygen therapy, depending on the severity of your condition. Undeniably, acute conditions require short-term treatment, whereas chronic issues require long-term oxygen therapy.
A common question that crosses the mind of someone thinking about oxygen therapy is, “Which conditions result in low oxygen levels in the human body?” To get this question answered, take a look at the following common medical conditions that require oxygen treatment with oxygen concentrators.
Pneumonia: This infection inflames the lung air sacs, sometimes causing them to fill with fluid. It’s no secret that people with pneumonia experience better clinical results with oxygen therapy with an oxygen generator.
Asthma: Asthma is characterized by the inflammation of the airways and the production of excess mucus, resulting in breathing difficulties. If you have asthma, you can trust an oxygen generator to supply sufficient levels of oxygen to your lungs during and after flares.
Cystic fibrosis: This disorder damages the lungs and digestive system by destroying the cells responsible for the production of digestive juices, mucus, and sweat. This results in thicker and stickier fluids that block the passageways and ducts of the patient.
Sleep apnea: In this sleeping disorder, the patient starts and stops breathing irregularly. One of the recommended treatments for sleep apnea is the use of oxygen concentrators while sleeping.
Respiratory distress syndrome(RDS): Oxygen concentrators can help mitigate RDS complications. RDS commonly affects infants born at least six weeks before due dates.
The disorder causes the lungs to collapse, resulting in difficulties in breathing. Medical experts attribute this problem to low production of pulmonary surfactant, the liquid responsible for reducing surface tension in the lungs.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD): This inflammatory disease causes limited airflow to the lungs. There is no cure for COPD, but treatment options, including oxygen concentrators, help relieve complications.
How Does an Oxygen Concentrator Work?
Whereas most people understand the function of oxygen concentrator, few can tell how the device converts air to oxygen.
Each of the several parts incorporated in the equipment plays a significant role in ensuring that you access oxygen-concentrated air. The components include tubes, valves, zeolite pellet-filled cylinders (sieve beds), an air compressor, and pressure equalizing reservoir.
The working of an oxygen concentrator can be explained in two phases: first half phase and second half phase.
In the first half phase, the compressor pumps air to the first cylinder. Here, the pressure rises a few times higher than atmospheric pressure. Resultantly, zeolite in the first cylinder removes nitrogen from the supplied air. As this cylinder becomes saturated with oxygen-enriched oxygen, a valve opens to allow the air to flow into the pressure-equalizing reservoir and product tank.
At the end of this phase, the compressor moves air to the second sieve. The drop in oxygen concentration and air pressure in the first cylinder triggers the zeolite to release the trapped nitrogen. During the second half, a change in valve position causes air to flow from the product tank to the first cylinder. The device releases the mixture of oxygen and nitrogen back to the ambient atmosphere, thus maintaining the concentration of oxygen in the pressure-equalizing reservoir somewhere above 90%.
The air pumped to the second sieve is purified and moved to the product tank. This marks the end of the cycle which starts over again in the first cylinder within seconds.
An oxygen concentrator can offer continuous flow or pulse dose delivery.
A continuous flow concentrator offers you a constant flow of oxygen that allows for consistent levels of oxygen saturation. This machine has more work to do and therefore features larger components. They are also heavy energy consumers. Due to these reasons, these machines are suited for use at home.
Contrarily, a pulse dose oxygen generator delivers oxygen in brief spurts when the user inhales. With pulse dose technology, the air compressor is smaller and lighter, giving rise to lighter and portable concentrators.
Types of Oxygen Concentrators in San Diego
Oxygen concentrators are categorized into two broad categories; stationary and portable. The types have considerable differences in size and portability.
A stationary or home oxygen concentrator(HOC) is designed for use at home as a user has to plug it into a mains electricity outlet. Typically, these machines are more massive owing to their larger oxygen capacities and components, especially the sieve cylinders and internal compressors. Thus, you don’t have to wonder why they offer a continuous flow of oxygen.
Weighing between 20 and 50 pounds, some stationary oxygen generators are too heavy to drag around frequently. Although most models have wheels to ease movement, you may find it inconvenient to move around with long tubing attached to your cannula.
Older versions of home oxygen concentrators consume lots of energy, besides being too noisy. Thanks to technological advancement, people can now buy quieter stationary generators with low energy consumption.
The perks you get from a stationary oxygen concentrator include:
- Lower initial investment: Stationary oxygen generators have lower initial investment compared to their portable counterparts. They are the go-to solution for buyers on a tight budget.
- Allows for humidification: Passing air through sieve beds usually produces dry oxygen that can cause nasal dryness and itching.
Fortunately, newer oxygen concentrators in San Diego allow for the installation of a humidifier bottle through which oxygen is pumped for humidification. This incredibly relieves any dryness. Take care to fill a humidifier bottle with distilled water, not tap water.
- Can serve multiple users: Due to their larger components, a stationary machine can deliver oxygen at a rate as high as 10liters/ minute.
This capability means that two users can use the same device simultaneously. You only need to place a concentrator with two outlets between the beds of two patients in need of oxygen therapy.
Portable Oxygen Concentrator
A portable oxygen concentrator(POC) has similar primary functions as a stationary model; however, it’s smaller and lighter for portability and flexibility.
Most POCs deliver oxygen on-demand (pulse dose). This allows for their compact designs geared to conserve oxygen without compromising oxygen delivery to the patient. Oxygen is supplied from the machine to the patient via a nasalcannula.
Unlike their home counterparts that operate on AC power, portable oxygen generators rely on batteries for power. Although smaller than stationary machines, POCs are available in various shapes, colors, and sizes, depending on the manufacturer and capabilities. Despite these differences, these machines incorporate similar components, with most having a control panel on which you’ll find:
- On/off switch- controls the powering of the device.
- Adjustment knob: controls the flow rate of oxygen flowing into the patient.
- Alarm LEDs: Alerts you on potential or immediate power loss.
Some newer portable concentrators take flexibility a notch higher by offering both continuous and pulse dose delivery. At the press of a button, you can effortlessly switch between the two delivery methods, depending on your oxygen needs at particular moments. You expect these models to be larger and heavier than the pulse-only POCs since they require large sieve beds, bigger compressor, and more electronics.
The benefits associated with POCs include:
- Easy mobility: The primary advantage of a portable oxygen concentrator is that you can move with it to remote places without compromising your oxygen therapy, provided the battery has enough charge.
Something else you will love about POCs is that they are compatible with virtually all forms of travel, including road and air.
- Prevent accidental deaths: Using a POC could be the only difference between death and survival. With power outages, home oxygen concentrator becomes useless, placing someone in dire need of oxygen in a compromising
situation. A charged POC comes in handy in such a case.
- Enables socialization and quicker recovery: With a portable solution, you can meet friends and relatives in other places rather than staying holed up in a room with a stationary generator. Furthermore, being detained in
the house is sometimes depressing and may compromise recovery. A POC serves to eliminate these hassles.
An oxygen concentrator, whether portable and stationary, increases survival to chronically ill patients. With the availability of supplemental oxygen, you can exercise longer and at a higher intensity. This helps to reduce recovery time while enabling you to achieve your physical therapy goals.
Also, oxygen therapy with these machines improves mental clarity and alertness to aged and chronically ill patients,
Considerations for the Best Oxygen Concentrator in San Diego
Buying the best oxygen concentrator in San Diego lies in careful planning, which involves considering plenty of features to ensure that your choice meets your oxygen therapy needs conveniently. That said, let’s delve into the key factors to keep in mind when looking for an oxygen generator.
Portable and stationary oxygen concentrators have varying oxygen flow rates. Equipped with more substantial components, a home generator supplies a higher amount of oxygen, with some models
delivering as high as 10L/min. This is too much oxygen unless you are looking for a machine for multiple users. For regular use, a less powerful home concentrator with capabilities lying somewhere between 1L and 5L per minute is the most appropriate choice.
Limitations in size and efficiency of compressors mean that POCs deliver a fraction of what a stationary counterpart offers. Most portable concentrators on the market offer an oxygen flow rate lying somewhere between 300ml/min and 1300ml/min, and a range of 2-6 flow settings. A standard requirement for most patients is 400ml/min, which is typically setting 2 or 3 in most POCs. Ask your doctor about your specific oxygen requirement before setting out to buy a POC.
It’s incredibly important to buy a machine that can accommodate future needs, especially if you have a condition whose oxygen demands grow with time, for instance, COPD. If your current requirement is 5L/min, you’ll want to buy a concentrator that can supply 6L-7L/min. By planning for your future needs, you avoid unnecessary purchase of another machine, saving a considerable amount of money in the long run. The same applies to portable oxygen concentrators.
You cannot afford to overlook the costs of acquiring and running an oxygen concentrator in San Diego. When buying a home generator, be ready for an initial cost and additional home electricity bill. Since the machine operates on mains electricity, you don’t have to wait for a battery to charge or spend more money on battery replacements. However, the cost shows up in the electricity bills.
Note that the more oxygen a home generator supplies, the more energy it consumes. Fortunately, manufacturers are continually releasing more energy-efficient stationary oxygen machines. These devices are initially costlier but can help save on electricity bills. Whereas a portable concentrator saves you from paying hefty bills, it comes with a much higher initial cost, sometimes twice as much as that of a stationary solution. However, the flexibility and portability benefits that come with these devices are worth the price. Something else to remember when budgeting for a portable generator is battery replacement.
Even as you look into your budget limitations, ensure that the device you are about to buy suits your oxygen needs. Again, it’s wise for users with unstable oxygen requirements or chronic issues to buy a machine that can meet their future demands, too, even it means spending extra bucks.
Size and Weight
HOCs come in varying sizes, shapes, and weights. However, you are looking for equipment that will blend in with your lifestyle, not force you to change it. Most importantly, determine the space available for a concentrator at your home.
A smaller model is more appropriate for limited spaces. In contrast, a larger and more powerful alternative is the right fit for larger spaces. If you intend to use the device in multiple areas with varying sizes, look for one that will fit in the tightest of the spaces.
Stationary generators range in weight, from around 30 pounds to about 55 pounds. The heavier models are wheeled so that users or caregivers don’t have to lift them when moving them around a home or nursing facility.
A portable oxygen concentrator is much smaller. Typically, the smallest of the POCs are the pulse-only models, which you can effortlessly stash in a purse or backpack. You expect larger sizes for portable models that offer both continuous flow and pulse dose deliveries.
Undoubtedly, pulse-only portable models weigh the least, with the lightest being merely 2 pounds. In comparison, the heaviest option weighs about 5.5 pounds. Pulse dose and continuous flow portable concentrators weigh more than their pulse-only competitors, with a range of 10-20 pounds. They usually roll in a cart, and hence may not be a right fit for users who travel a lot.
Light concentrators allow for the packing of more personal belongings during travels. For aged people or patients with back pain, carrying a relatively heavier portable device is not an option for them. This is where the ultralight models come in handy. Keep in mind that accessories contribute an additional weight.
Sound level may be an obvious consideration for oxygen generators, but several buyers largely overlook it. Due to differences in oxygen levels and designs, oxygen concentrators range in the amount of noise they produce when operating normally.
The larger, high-powered stationary generators can be quite noisier than the portable alternatives. The sound varies between 40dB and 58dB, with the high-oxygen-level machines emitting the most noise. The case is different for portable oxygen machines whose noise emission lies somewhere between 38dB and 50dB.
Nonetheless, most portable concentrators produce up to 43dB (the sound level of a quiet conversation).
Considerations Unique to Portable Oxygen Concentrators
For most buyers of portable oxygen concentrators, battery life is the second most important factor after the oxygen output rate. A battery that lasts for an hour offers little portability. You want a battery that keeps you out for a considerably longer time without frequent recharges.
Most POCs use lithium-ion batteries, acclaimed for their more power, eco-friendliness, and lightness. However, POCs range significantly in battery life, with some models offering over 10 hours in battery life. In contrast, others provide a few hours only.
A few factors affect your battery life. For example, a portable concentrator consumes more energy when operating in continuous mode or higher setting. Undeniably, running your machine on pulse dose mode and a lower setting is key to longer battery life. Also, keep your battery away from extreme temperatures to minimize its degradation rate.
Pulse Dose vs. Continuous Flow/Pulse Dose
Already, you know that some portable oxygen generators offer both continuous flow and pulse dose deliveries. It’s quite tricky for beginners to decide between these machines and the pulse-only solutions.
Pulse-only POC is lighter than a continuous flow & pulse dose POC. However, the latter offers you more versatility. You can use pulse dose mode when away from home to conserve battery charge and switch to continuous mode during the night or when the device is on AC.
A portable oxygen concentrator is a go-to solution for comfortable air travel. However, it’s a requirement for users to fly with FAA-approved POCs, which can be easily stored under the seat or placed on for landing and takeoff. Besides, you can move with the device down the aisle without inconveniencing other passengers.
Not all POCs are approved by the FAA and IATA (International Air Transport Association), so some models are not appropriate for air travel. Always check for the approval before finalizing your purchase.
Renting vs. Buying an Oxygen Concentrator
It’s common for oxygen users to wonder whether to buy or rent an oxygen concentrator in San Diego, even after learning about the features to watch out for in the machine. Ample information can help clear the confusion.
It’s economically viable to rent an oxygen concentrator for short-term use, particularly for special occasions and travel. For instance, if you use a stationary oxygen generator and you want to travel abroad, it’s easier to rent an FAA-approved POC.
The case also applies to a visit by a relative or friend in need of oxygen supplementation. Instead of your visitor packing their bulky oxygen machine on an airplane, it is more convenient to hire a concentrator for them.
If you want to upgrade your current oxygen generator, you can try out a newer model at home before making a long-term purchase. Running a test with a rental concentrator helps you gauge whether the model will meet adapt to your lifestyle and needs. You’ll want to test the machine while resting, while sleeping and of courses during your day-to-day activities.
Medicare can cover some costs associated with long-term rentals of POCs and HOCs, provided you meet the requirements outlined on the provider’s website. This is usually some sort of co-pay solution whereby Medicare pays a particular percentage of the approved amount, leaving you to pay the remaining portion.
Note that Medicare does not pay for the purchase or short-term rental of an oxygen generator.
Users not satisfied with insurance provisions for oxygen rentals prefer to buy the equipment for long-term use. Owning an oxygen concentrator gives you more control over your machine choice and use while helping you avoid high accumulative rental costs.
Traveling with Oxygen
Portable oxygen concentrators offer an excellent solution to oxygen supplementation during air and road travel.
When traveling to a considerably distant location, you’ll want to know how the unfamiliar environment, in terms of attitude and temperature extremes, will affect your unit’s performance. You can get valuable information about this issue from a doctor or an oxygen specialist.
When traveling by air with a POC, it’s advisable to inform your airline weeks before the trip date. This is because most airlines request additional paperwork for POCs, including a prescription from your doctor.
One of the most important factors to consider when planning your air trip is the battery life required. Most airlines stipulate that travelers have at least two batteries with enough charge to cover at least 150% of the flight duration. The extra 50% takes care of potential flight delays.
Plugging your device to an AC outlet when waiting for your plane at the gate helps to conserve battery charge. It causes no harm to ask for help from airport personnel if you can’t trace an outlet in the area.
If you are traveling with a larger POC, board the airplane early enough to get settled. Using the pulse dose setting helps to conserve a great deal of POC energy when flying.
Car models vary in electrical systems, so check if your POC charges with your car model before embarking on a road trip. If you are unsure about the compatibility, remove the battery from your unit and operate it solely on DC power. You’ll need the conserved battery charge when running errands.
To protect your oxygen machine overheating, ensure that its intake port is always open so it can access air easily. For this reason, also, don’t store the unit in the trunk of your vehicle.
Occasionally roll down your car window to free the non-oxygen gases released by your POC. To keep safety hazards at bay, neither you nor passengers should smoke in the car.
Safety Precautions for Oxygen Concentrators
Although an oxygen concentrator does not pose the same dangers as oxygen tanks, it’s still crucial to observe some vital guidelines for proper and safe use.
Keep a safe distance from open fires: Open flames are a sure recipe for hazards around oxygen. It’s highly recommendable to keep your oxygen machine at least three meters away from open flames, including gas stoves and candles, and at least two meters away from electric heaters and non-gas stoves.
Maintain a safe distance from water: An oxygen concentrator is electrical equipment susceptible to damage by water. With that being said, keep it off contact with water. Watch out for rain when running errands outdoors.
Using an extended tubing and detachable showerhead will ease the experience if you must shower while on an oxygen concentrator. Should your unit get wet, immediately turn it off and unplug it from the mains outlet.
Avoid aerosols: Aerosols are highly flammable, so avoid using them near your oxygen generator. Such products include some air fresheners, body sprays, and hair sprays.
Don’t smoke near your unit: Earlier, we warned you against smoking in your car when traveling with your POC. Smoking in the presence of 90% oxygen can set the stage for quick and uncontrollable fires.
Even at home, avoid smoking near your device, whether portable or stationary. Switch off the machine, disconnect the cannula, and walk to a different room for a smoke. If you can’t move to a separate room, turn off the device and wait for at least 15 minutes before lighting your cigarette.
Always keep the intake vents open: This helps your machine operate optimally.
Where to Rent Oxygen Concentrator San Diego
If you are looking to rent an oxygen concentrator in San Diego, think Harmony Home Medical Supplies, a trusted and licensed home medical equipment dealer in San Diego, CA.
Whether you are looking for a stationary or portable oxygen concentrator, our products are sure to meet your needs and lifestyle. We offer daily, weekly, and monthly rental programs at pocket-friendly rates.
Booking an oxygen concentrator with Harmony Home Medical Supplies couldn’t be easier: seamless paperwork, responsive representative, and quick deliveries. We can deliver the machine right at your residential home, workplace, or even hotel-whichever location is convenient for you.
Call or email us, or fill our online rental form to have your preferred rental oxygen generator delivered to you. You can also visit our San Diego store to view products and enjoy one-on-one interaction with our professional and helpful specialists.
Where to Buy an Oxygen Concentrator in San Diego
If you are looking for a long-term solution for oxygen therapy, the wisest thing you can do is buying an oxygen concentrator. For affordable, top-quality, and a good selection of oxygen concentrators in San Diego, look no further than Harmony Home Medical Supplies.
Our store boasts POCs and HOCs from the very best brands in the country, including Inogen and Caire, known for high performance, durability, and efficiency. This is why we believe our oxygen concentrators are some of the best products on the market and justly suitable for the unique situations of our clients.
Not sure which device suits you? Worry not. Our specialists are more than willing to help you select the right equipment for your oxygen therapy. With us, you enjoy convenience at its best. You can pay a visit to our store or have your oxygen machine delivered to you.
We don’t stop at offering you quality products. If you buy an oxygen concentrator from us, you automatically become part of our business, as long as you own the device. We, therefore, continually provide professional customer support and services to our esteemed customers.