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Refurbished or Used Oxygen Concentrator Guide

Thinking of taking a risk on a used or refurbished oxygen concentrator?

  • This is your health...
  • It's a medical device...
  • You don't know where it's been...

Refurbished and worse yet, used oxygen concentrators are popping up all over the internet.  Some have been rebuilt from new parts.  Some have merely been cleaned and tested.  And unfortunately, some have been taken out of someone's bedroom and shipped directly to you.

Before buying the cheapest machine you find, remember... you get what you pay for.  Let's be honest, we would prefer you purchase a new oxygen concentrator from us.  But if you are determined to buy used equipment, look for these things before buying a refurbished oxygen concentrator.

( We are in the process of developing a quality refurbishing team and will soon offer our own refurbished oxygen concentrators. )

Shopping for O2:  How to Find a Trustworthy Seller

As the market for oxygen therapy grows, people are popping up, looking to make an easy buck.  Your safest choice is to choose a provider of medical services approved by Medicare or your insurance company.  Another indication that a company is trustworthy is if they require a prescription.  Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, oxygen used by people for breathing and administered by another person is a prescription drug.  The wrong dosage of oxygen can be harmful.  The right equipment should be chosen by a Respiratory Therapist based on your doctor's prescription.  If a company claims they don't require a prescription, beware, the machine they are selling was probably not maintained as a medical device and may have been misused, mistreated or even altered for recreational purposes.


Refurbished Vs. Used: The Difference Can Save Your Life

When buying refurbished, look for concentrators that have been rebuilt to meet or exceed original manufacturer's specifications.  Some fly-by-night companies buy used oxygen  concentrator machines, clean them, check if they operate and resell, hoping they work beyond some minimal warranty period.  A worse situation is buying from an individual on a website like Ebay.  Ebay is a great site, and some respectable oxygen concentrator companies may advertise there, but it's just not safe to buy auctioned medical equipment from an individual.  Worse yet would be buying an oxygen concentrator from an individual who did not use it for medical purposes.  Oxygen bars were a passing trend and in many areas are not legal.  Concentrators used for oxygen bars would not have been maintained as medical devices.  In many cases they were altered and used as a novelty.  This would most likely be the cheapest way to get a concentrator, but also the worst option you could choose.  An ideal factory refurbishment includes rebuilding the compressor, rebuilding all valves, putting in new tubing, and re-pouring sieve canisters with fresh sieve material.  A typical rebuilt oxygen concentrator should cost somewhere in the $300 to $600 range.  If you find one for less, be wary of what you may be getting.


Warranty: What's a Good One?  What's covered?

Warranties on refurbished oxygen concentrators range from none at all to 5 years.  As far as warranties go, an oxygen concentrator is not like a used car.  It is a medical device.  If there is no warranty, go somewhere else.  A 30 day warranty is still very questionable.  A used oxygen concentrator should have at least a 90 day warranty.  One year is preferable.  Some companies even offer a 5 year warranty on refurbished oxygen concentrators.

Most warranties cover parts... and sometimes labor.  They usually do NOT cover shipping. Whenever you receive an oxygen concentrator (or any other package) delivered by a shipping service like UPS, FedEx, DHL, check the box for signs of damage.  If the box appears damaged, your oxygen concentrator may have been damaged during shipping.  A manufacturer's warranty will usually not cover this damage, but the shipping company should.  Do not accept the shipment.  If it was left on your doorstep, do not open the box.  Take pictures, first.  Then open the box and check for damage to the concentrator.  Take note of the padding (styrofoam, foam, inflatable cushions, etc.) used to package the unit.  There should be at least 3 or 4 inches of padding all around the unit.  Take pictures of any damage.  Contact the shipping company immediately and file a damage claim.  The shipping company will take the package and inspect it.  They will perform an investigation to determine if they are at fault for the damage.  They are generally easy to deal with and good about paying for damage.  The only exception is if the product was not padded sufficiently.  In that case, the person who sent the package is to blame.  A respectable company will replace the damaged concentrator.  If you are dealing with an individual, you will have to work out something with that person.


Usage Hours: Know This Before You Buy

Usage hours tells you how much the unit has been used by it's previous owner.  Oxygen concentrator parts have a limited lifespan.  The intake filter should be washed once a week and replaced once a year.  The compressor should be rebuilt every 5 years.  Oxygen output should be tested by a calibrated oxygen analyzer or sensing device every 3 months.  Zeolite crystals in the sieve bed are used to filter nitrogen from the air. The zeolite will generally last for 20,000 hours, which may equate to 10 years.


If you have any questions, call us, we'll be glad to help!


BPA is for educational and research intentions only. Not intended as an alternative for medical treatment or advice.