If you are a home oxygen user, your doctor may recommend a regulator for your oxygen tank. There are two types of oxygen regulators:
- Continuous flow regulators
- Conserving regulators
Continuous Flow Regulators
As the name suggests, continuous flow regulators provide a steady flow of oxygen. The regulator can be adjusted by the patient to rates from 1 – 25 liters per minute. Your doctor will prescribe the flow rate that is best for you.
More About Conserving Regulators
Conserving regulators, on the other hand, do not provide a steady flow of oxygen. Rather, this type of regulator delivers oxygen only when the patient breathes in. This conserves the amount of oxygen used, and oxygen tanks can last up to five times longer.
How Do Conserving Regulators Work?
Conserving regulators rely on air pressure to “sense” when the patient needs to take a breath. Essentially, when the patient breathes out, air is forced back on the regulator, and the regulator then releases oxygen for the patient to breathe in. Because the regulator is only releasing oxygen while the patient is actually breathing in, less oxygen is wasted and the oxygen tank lasts much longer.
Is A Conserving Regulator Right For Me?
Though these types of regulators can help conserve oxygen, some patients may have difficulty using them. If you tend to breathe from your mouth, rather than your nose, for example, air will not be forced back on the regulator, and it will not know to release oxygen as you breathe in. Talk with your doctor about which type of regulator is right for you.