Oxygen Tanks: More Vital Than You May Think
Oxygen tanks are vital components in the delivery of oxygen, and are used in the medical, aviation, and manufacturing industries. While the composition of the air is generally the same, it is still important to choose the correct type based on ones needs.
What Types of Oxygen Tanks Are Available?
Unlike oxygen concentrators, compressed oxygen tanks are pressurized units. The cylinders may deliver O2 either as a compressed gas or in liquid form. The tanks used for both are different.
- Compressed Oxygen: This type of oxygen cylinder is the typical one used in most scenarios. They are inexpensive and come in various sizes, including small portable units that users can carry in special backpacks. Smaller ones can be refilled from larger ones used for storage.
- Liquid Oxygen: These types of cylinders are generally used for storage. They do so more efficiently than compressed oxygen cylinders because liquid oxygen takes up less space. However, this type of tank has a lower shelf life and cannot be taken on a plane.
What Accessories Do You Need to Use Oxygen Tanks?
Oxygen tanks cannot be operated on their own. Accessories help regulate and control the flow of oxygen from the tank.
- Delivery Systems for Breathing:When oxygen cylinders are used as an aid to breathing, they need accessories to deliver the gas to the person using it. Some common devices used to achieve this are nasal cannulas, oxygen masks and tents, and built-in breathing systems.
- Carrying Systems: People may need oxygen for medical needs, but may not need to stay at a hospital. Those who move around on their feet can use special backpacks to carry oxygen cylinders as they walk around. Those confined to wheelchairs can still maintain mobility with the help of a wheelchair bag to carry a cylinder.
- Other Accessories: A humidifier is used with medical oxygen to mix the gas with water and warm it. This prevents the users nose, throat, and mouth from becoming dry during use. A flow meter controls how fast the cylinder releases the gas.
What Precautions Should I Take With Oxygen Tanks?
Users should take care when handling and using oxygen tanks and equipment. In addition, it is important to maintain the quality of the oxygen, depending on what it will be used for.
- General Precautions for all Oxygen Cylinders: No open flames, heat sources, or sources of sparks should be allowed within three meters of an oxygen tank. Flammable items should be stored away from oxygen equipment. If the equipment is used at home, install smoke alarms. Lastly, the equipment should always be kept clean.
- Special Precautions for Medical Oxygen Tanks:Medical oxygen tanks should only be refilled at FDA approved companies. Never use one that has been used for another purpose for medical use. Lastly, if users have been prescribed 24-hour oxygen, it is essential to have a backup tank available at all times.