# How long will a small oxygen tank last?

## How long will a small oxygen tank last?

If you require supplemental oxygen for medical conditions, it’s important to know how long the oxygen tank will last. Small oxygen tanks are convenient for traveling and provide a supply of oxygen for hours or days, but how long can they last? The answer to this question depends on several factors including the flow rate, tank size, and oxygen saturation level. This article will explain how long a small oxygen tank can last in different scenarios and what factors affect the duration of the oxygen supply.

## Oxygen tank sizes and capacities

Oxygen tank sizes and capacities are essential factors to consider when trying to determine how long the oxygen tank will last. There are different sizes of oxygen tanks, and each has a maximum capacity for oxygen storage. The following table shows the different sizes of oxygen tanks and their maximum capacities:

Oxygen tank size Capacity (liters of oxygen)
M-2 40
M-4 113
M-6 164
M-9 246
MD 345

### Oxygen flow rate and duration

Oxygen flow rate and duration are also essential factors to consider when determining how long a small oxygen tank will last. The flow rate is how fast the oxygen is delivered from the tank to the patient. The duration is how long the oxygen tank will last, given the flow rate and the maximum capacity of oxygen storage.

Typically, oxygen tanks have a flow rate of 1 to 15 liters per minute (LPM). A higher flow rate will result in shorter oxygen supply duration from the tank. Higher flow rates can be dangerous and may negatively impact oxygen saturation levels. Low flow rates may result in longer oxygen supply duration, but the oxygen saturation level may be too low to support the body’s needs.

The following table shows the duration of oxygen supply for different flow rates and oxygen tank sizes:

Oxygen tank size Flow rate (LPM) Duration (hours)
M-2 1 1.3
2 0.7
3 0.4
4 0.3
5 0.2
6 0.2
M-4 1 2.9
2 1.5
3 1.0
4 0.7
5 0.6
6 0.4
M-6 1 4.2
2 2.1
3 1.4
4 1.0
5 0.8
6 0.7
M-9 1 6.3
2 3.2
3 2.1
4 1.6
5 1.3
6 1.0
MD 1 8.2
2 4.1
3 2.7
4 2.0
5 1.6
6 1.3

## Factors affecting the duration of oxygen supply

Factors affecting the duration of oxygen supply include the oxygen flow rate, breathing pattern, patient’s oxygen demand, and the size of the oxygen tank. A patient’s oxygen demand can change due to the activity level, illness, or stress level. Changes in the breathing patterns, including shallow or rapid breathing can also affect oxygen demand.

The environmental conditions such as altitude, temperature, and humidity can also affect the performance of the oxygen tank. High altitude can reduce the oxygen saturation level and decrease the performance of the oxygen tank. High temperatures can increase the oxygen usage, and high humidity can limit the flow of oxygen from the tank.

It’s important to note that small oxygen tanks are not intended for long-term use or continuous oxygen supply. Oxygen concentrators or liquid oxygen systems are recommended for long-term oxygen therapy. Small oxygen tanks are an excellent source of emergency oxygen supply, especially when traveling or during power outages.

## FAQ

• How long will a small oxygen tank last at a flow rate of 2 LPM?
• At a flow rate of 2 LPM, a small oxygen tank will last between 1.5 to 3.2 hours, depending on the size of the tank.

• How do I know when the oxygen tank is empty?
• Most oxygen tanks have a pressure gauge that indicates the amount of oxygen remaining in the tank. The gauge shows when the pressure drops to a critical level, indicating a need for a refill or replacement.

• Can I travel with a small oxygen tank?
• Yes, you can travel with a small oxygen tank. You must follow the safety regulations and inform the airlines or transportation companies in advance.

• Do I need a prescription for a small oxygen tank?
• Yes, the physician must prescribe oxygen therapy, including the type of oxygen delivery system.

• How often do I need to refill or replace the oxygen tank?
• The frequency of refilling or replacing the oxygen tank depends on the daily oxygen usage, the size of the tank, and the flow rate. Contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

## Conclusion

Determining how long will a small oxygen tank last is essential for maintaining a proper oxygen supply for patients requiring oxygen therapy. Generally, small oxygen tanks are intended as emergency or backup oxygen supplies, and they last a few hours, depending on the oxygen flow rate, the size of the tank, and other factors. It’s crucial to follow the safety regulations and the physician’s instructions regarding the use, care, and maintenance of the oxygen tank.

## References

1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, November 24). Oxygen therapy. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/oxygen-therapy/about/pac-20384735

2. Anthonisen, N. R., Manfreda, J., Warren, C. P. W., & Hershfield, E. S. (1987). Antibiotic therapy in exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Annals of Internal Medicine, 106(2), 196–204. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-106-2-196

3. American Thoracic Society. (2019). Oxygen therapy. American Thoracic Society. https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/oxygen-therapy.pdf