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.
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?
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
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
Usage Hours: Know This Before You Buy
hours tells you how much the unit has been used by it's previous
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!