It’s easy for your oxygen machine to alarm you when it beeps or you see a blinking light, but don’t worry. Oxygen machines are built with these features to let you know something isn’t right, and these problems are typically easy to solve. Here’s why your oxygen machine is beeping (and what to do about it).
Depending on your machine, you could see one of a few possible alarm signs. From different colored lights to beeping with no light at all, it’s important to know what these indicators are trying to tell you. Your machine may vary from these typical signals, so consult your manual to confirm the source of the alarm.
Beeping With Red Light
Not all oxygen machines have a red light on them, but those that do typically reserve the red light for the highest priority problems. As soon as you see a red light, you must power off your machine. If it’s overheating, leave it powered off while it cools down. Ensure that the device is in a well-ventilated place and isn’t too close to any walls. Check the device’s filters to confirm that they are clean and clear of debris.
Once 15 minutes have passed, turn your machine back on and check if the red light and alarm are still active. If so, turn off the device again and reach out to your oxygen machine’s provider for assistance.
Beeping With No Light
When your machine beeps without any indicator light, this generally denotes some kind of power problem. Turn off your machine and unplug it. Check the outlet you’re using for your oxygen machine with something else and ensure that the outlet is still powered. When you find a functional outlet, plug your machine back in and power it up. Contact the device provider if the beeping hasn’t stopped.
Beeping With Green or Yellow Light
On a portable oxygen concentrator, beeping accompanied by a green light typically indicates low power. In this case, plug in your device and wait for the batteries to charge up (you can still use the device while charging). On stationary devices, it could warn you of low oxygen flow. Look at the tubing from your cannula and ensure there is no tearing or kinking along the line.
Yellow lights are usually a higher-priority alert than a green light but less alarming than red. Check your manual to see whether this light is trying to tell you that your device is providing low oxygen, overheating, or not detecting your breath.
Causes of Alarms
Your oxygen machine is a device that promotes health and wellness, but even these essential tools can malfunction. It’s essential to understand the possible sources of malfunction so you can develop a plan of how to deal with them should they arise.
Failing To Produce Enough Oxygen
Contrary to popular belief, oxygen concentrators are not, in themselves, a source of oxygen. Instead, they pull in air from whatever space they’re in and filter it. A unit beeping or blinking is possibly trying to tell you about its failure to effectively provide oxygen due to filtration issues or other causes. If this is the problem, you will likely need to have your machine serviced.
Loss of Power
Oxygen concentrators need power to continue doing their job effectively, whether through batteries or a wired connection. Loss of power is among the most common reasons a machine starts beeping. Portable oxygen concentrators typically alert you when the battery drops below a certain percentage, so plug in your machine (or ensure that a plugged-in machine is receiving power).
When a machine is obstructed or placed somewhere with poor ventilation, it can start to overheat. Clogged filters or fan motors can cause the same problems, so back your device away from obstructions after shutting it down. Wait until it has cooled off, then try powering it on again. If overheating persists, there is likely an internal reason, and you should seek maintenance.
Oxygen Flow Problem
Most oxygen machines can gauge oxygen flow rate. If the device detects that the oxygen flow has decreased, it will alert you. Thankfully, these alarms are typically easy to fix. Ensure none of your tubing is kinked or torn (this may require you to replace broken tubes). Again, if this does not solve the problem, check your manual or contact customer support.
This is why reading the manual is important. Sometimes, a user will do something (or not do something) they don’t realize is detrimental to the functioning of their oxygen machine. Always keep your device in a well-ventilated area and regularly clean your air filter to stay away from these avoidable alarms.
Understanding the problems is one thing, but how can you solve them? First, understand that not every issue is one you’ll have the power to fix yourself. You can fix some, however, and here’s what to do.
Most machines will have a removable filter on the back of the device, behind a small door. Once you’ve opened the door, clear off the filter of any dust or debris that may have collected on it, such as dirt and pet hair. Because your machine is constantly pulling in air, you will find other particles stuck in the filter, so clean it regularly.
If your filter is clear and problems are still occurring, check your tubing. Tubing can easily become lodged under chairs or other furniture through everyday use, and this can cause damage to your tubes over time. With your machine turned on, feel along the tubing for any escaping air. It’s good practice to change your device’s tubing every other week to keep it in tip-top shape.
Contact Device Provider
If the do-it-yourself solutions haven’t worked, contact the device provider for help. Customer support is well-equipped to assist with any troubleshooting needs, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Now that you know why your oxygen machine is beeping (and what to do about it), breathe easy with your device in peak form. If you think oxygen therapy is right for you, consider buying an oxygen machine for home use. These problems are scary, but they’re all solvable with a little help (plus, the benefits are worth a little maintenance)!