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Portable Oxygen

If you are looking to purchase a portable oxygen concentrator or already have one, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and scenarios answered by our specialist homecare advisors.

If there are any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on freephone 0800 028 2194 or email


  • 1.How does an Oxygen Concentrator work ?
    The air that we breathe contains around 21% Oxygen with the remaining majority made up of mostly nitrogen and other gases that the body doesn't need. An Oxygen concentrator takes in the air and separates it through a row of molecular sieves which contains a non-hazardous chemical, leaving a high concentration of Oxygen of around 90%.
  • 2.What does continuous flow mean?
    Continuous flow oxygen is delivered at a constant rate irrespective of the user’s breathing rate as the name suggests.
  • 3.Can I use a Portable Oxygen Concentrator while sleeping?
    All on demand devices have an alarm to monitor and increase your safety during use. Use of an on demand portable oxygen concentrator during sleep is entirely dependent on your personal circumstances. The use of a continuous flow oxygen concentrator is always suitable.
  • 4.What is an Oxygen Concentrator used for?
    When a patient is diagnosed with COPD or Emphysema or any severe respiratory condition, the capability of the lungs to exchange oxygen into the blood stream may become reduced. When this happens, the heart has to work harder increasing the risk of cardiac arrest and blood clotting. An Oxygen concentrator is used to provide the body with a much higher than normal concentration of Oxygen per breath to compensate for any reduced lung functionality.
  • 5.Do I have to be prescribed to purchase a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
    The answer is no. However, oxygen is a prescribed drug and we recommend that you are seeking medical / clinical advice should you wish to purchase an Oxygen concentrator. As a responsible medical supplies company, we will only supply patients who are existing users or currently seeking advice.
  • 6.I suffer from Sleep Apnoea. Can I still use a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
    If you suffer from Sleep Apnoea, you will no doubt be using a CPAP, BiPAP or another ventilator system whilst sleeping overnight. You can only use a continuous flow oxygen concentrator whilst sleeping if you suffer from Sleep Apnoea.
  • 7.Can I use a mask with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
    This is possible however it does depend on the model concerned. Please contact us and we can advise you.
  • 8.What is the warranty length on a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
    This varies depending on the model but will be typically 3 years for the device and 1 year for any accessories
  • 9.What does the warranty consist of?
    We offer the manufacturer’s warranty which includes parts and labour. We have fully qualified engineers, who are authorised to carry out repairs here in the UK. Please note that warranties are only valid for units purchased from Intermedical.
  • 10.What is the typical battery life in normal daily use and how long before I will need to replace it?
    This varies depending on the model and the users breathing rate and flow rate setting but can be between 2 and 8 hours for daily use. Batteries typically have a warranty which varies from model to model, but in our experience if a battery is used according to the manufacturer's guidelines it could last several years. Battery performance will naturally decline over time depending on usage, charging and storage.
  • 11.Can you use an Oxygen concentrator in a smoking environment? Will this cause any problems?
    It is not safe to use an Oxygen concentrator in any environment where naked flames or sources of ignition are present. Remember the Oxygen Concentrator uses the air around you to sieve out the gases the body doesn't need, leaving a high concentration of Oxygen. The amount of Carbon monoxide in a smoking environment is not only bad for a patient with COPD but can potentially cause problems for the machine as well. Avoid these areas when using a Portable Oxygen Concentrator.
  • 12.Can I travel on an aircraft with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
    Most airlines do accept portable oxygen concentrators on board their flights, where as a tiny minority will not. All of our Portable Oxygen Concentrators have been approved for air travel but ultimately the final discretion lies with the airline. Therefore we always recommend before purchasing your flight tickets, to ensure the airline you intend to fly with do accept Portable Oxygen Concentrators to be used in flight. It is also recommended that you also notify the airline that you will be using a portable oxygen concentrator. Airlines usually ask that the battery life is 150% of the flight time to compensate for any potential delays.
  • 13.Which airlines accept portable oxygen concentrators?
    Most airlines now allow passengers to carry portable oxygen concentrators. We can't tell you all the airlines that accept them on this FAQ as the list will be huge, however you can visit your desired airlines website for more information about taking oxygen on-board the flight. Just to name a few; British Airways, Virgin, Ryanair & EasyJet all accept the portable oxygen concentrators (Please note: this is subject to change at any time and should not be used a definitive guide.)
  • 14.Will a portable oxygen concentrator work abroad?
    Yes. A cruise ship's power rating is 60Hz whilst on land it is 50Hz. Our concentrators will work off both.
  • 15.Will my portable oxygen concentrator be safe going through x-ray scanners at an airport?
    Yes, your portable oxygen concentrator will be safe.
  • 16.Can I take oxygen on the Channel Tunnel – Le Shuttle or Eurostar?
    Le Shuttle Oxygen concentrators and oxygen bottles are permitted for travel on 'Le Shuttle'. There is no fixed limit for how many cylinders can be carried, however typically 2-3 cylinders would be the normal amount carried. Any oxygen carried must be declared at check in. It is advisable to be able to provide a letter from your doctor confirming that you need to take this equipment with you. Eurostar Oxygen concentrators and bottles are allowed on Eurostar, but you must provide a letter from your doctor confirming that you need to take this equipment with you.
  • 17.At what temperatures will my portable oxygen concentrator function?
    As a general guide, portable oxygen concentrators work more effectively between 5-49oC.
  • 18.At what altitudes can I use an Oxygen concentrator?
    This varies depending on the model concerned but typically up to 13,000 ft (Approx 4000m). Commercial airlines fly at higher altitudes than this, typically around 36,000 ft but they have pressurised passenger cabins which reduce the effective altitude to around 6-8,000 ft.
  • 19.Do you offer any service plans?
    Yes. Our service plans vary but generally can be pre-paid or paid as you go. We recommend all our machines to be serviced once annually.
  • 20.If my oxygen prescription changes, do you part exchange?
    Yes we do part exchange concentrators which we have sold to you. From the start, we try our utmost to provide you with a machine that will cater for any prescription changes for the future. Subject to terms and conditions.

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