Performing routine maintenance and inspection of oxygen concentrators reduces the need for costly repairs and ensures adequate availability of working units, particularly in field hospitals and low-resource areas. Many healthcare workers and hospital staff are not trained to conduct inspections or maintenance of these devices. The following guidance covers the most basic recommendations for maintenance and operating considerations and is intended for distribution to any healthcare worker or medical personnel where oxygen concentrators are used in the treatment of patients. Download a printable PDF version of this guide at osms.li/o2main

Electrical Supply

  • To avoid damage, injury, or malfunction, always ensure that the unit is compatible with the available power supply before each use and per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Note that operation of the unit with generator-supplied electricity or other alternative power supply could result in incompatible distribution of electricity to the unit, causing suboptimal oxygen output or other device malfunction. Use voltage stabilizers, if necessary.
  • Regularly inspect power cords for signs of damage. Replace any worn or damaged cords promptly. Do not operate any unit with a damaged cord- serious malfunction or injury could occur.
  • Do not supply power to a device that has been submerged in water or in a wet environment. Ensure the area around a unit is dry before powering the device on.

Filtration System

  • Filters provide the patient with clean air and must be maintained to ensure optimal device performance and patient safety.
  • The life of the filter generally varies from 6-12 months, but is variable based on the operating environment (ie: dust). The filter must be cleaned and inspected regularly.
  • Some units may have washable pre-filters and washable HEPA filters. Remove these and rinse them in cool, clean water. Allow the filters to dry completely before reinstalling them.
  • Non-washable HEPA filters must be replaced when dirty. Do not wash this type of filter as it could damage the filtration material and create health risks for the patient.
  • Always refer to manufacturer’s instructions regarding the schedule and cleaning of filters.

Zeolite/Molecular Sieve

  • Preservation of zeolite is important as this product is expensive and often difficult to source. The ability of zeolite to adsorb nitrogen from ambient air can be significantly reduced under certain conditions, causing the device to output insufficient amounts of oxygen.
  • Dust will lower the performance of the zeolite. Ensure adequate filtration within the unit and in the operating environment, if possible.
  • Adhere to filter cleaning and replacement schedules to prolong the working life of the zeolite.
  • Ensure zeolite is not exposed to moisture or excessive humidity. A unit may require multiple stages of moisture removal prior to operation in humid climates.
  • Do not expose zeolite to oil, as this will destroy it.

Operating Conditions

  • Oxygen concentrators are sensitive to dust, heat, and moisture.
  • Reduce dust in the operating environment by ensuring adequate ventilation and use of supplemental external air filtration systems if required. Inspect, clean, and replace filters on schedule.
  • If oxygen is required in hot climates, consider sourcing devices built with additional internal cooling systems. Use portable external fans and ensure adequate ventilation of the environment. Do not use near evaporative cooling units, as the increased humidity can reduce the operating capacity of the oxygen concentrator.
  • In very humid climates, it is important to consider using a device specifically engineered or adapted for these conditions. External use of dehumidifiers and fans can help reduce humidity in the environment.
  • Never operate a unit in a wet environment and do not attempt to operate a unit that has been exposed to water or submerged.


  • Regularly clean and inspect the unit to ensure optimal oxygen generation and to preserve the working life of the unit and its internal components.
  • Always turn off the unit and disconnect it from the power source before cleaning and inspecting.
  • Wipe the exterior of the unit with a slightly damp clean cloth to remove any surface dust or debris.
  • Gently wipe the interior of the unit with a slightly damp clean cloth to remove any dust. If the device is heavily soiled, slightly dampen the cloth with a solution of mild dish soap and water. Never use harsh cleaning products or chemicals which could damage the unit or internal components.
  • Wipe the interior and exterior dry with a separate clean cloth. Always allow the unit to dry completely before resuming operation.
  • Clean and change filters if necessary or indicated by maintenance schedule.
  • When cleaning, carefully inspect zeolite/molecular sieves and replace if necessary.
  • Inspect all internal tubing for cracks or defects and replace promptly.
  • Consult with the device manufacturer or qualified technician for additional instructions.


  • Unit won’t turn on: Check power supply, fuses, inspect cord and device for damage.
  • Unit is blowing dust from the exhaust: Clean or replace filters, ensure the zeolite is not spent.
  • Oxygen output is inadequate: Check pressure system, check zeolite.
  • Unit powers off unexpectedly: Address unstable power supply, check fuses, ensure device has not overheated.
  • Always contact a qualified technician or the device manufacturer in the event of malfunction or undesirable operation which is not readily solved by the aforementioned considerations.

For additional resources on oxygen concentrator repair and maintenance, including comprehensive manuals, please visit the Oxygen Alliance’s Oxygen Library at https://www.oxygenalliance.org

This guide was produced in partnership with Public Invention https://github.com/PubInv/freespireco