Log in
British Lung Foundation
37,019 members44,143 posts

How long do liquid oxygen tanks last?

I am about to go on liquid oxygen for when I am moving around. In speaking to the oxygen nurse today she said that the setting was going to be 4 lpm because that is what the level was when I was tested. As I am new to the oxygen service I was wondering how long these tanks are actually lasting at 4 lpm. I assume that the settings are fixed when I receive the tank and cannot be changed by me. Also, do they supply more than one tank as with the non liquid tanks?

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.
10 Replies

Just to give you an idea, I was on 2L for 5 hours a day and it used to last me about 2 weeks. You just ring up and re-order when you need more, at the moment I am using more than 2L due to a bad infection until I am reassessed but there is no problem getting it earlier Val

They give you a prescription, then you have to be tested for if you are able to use a conservor instead of constant flow, which means you can go twice as long on one tank. I am still waiting to get this test done for well over 6 months since they put me on ambulatory oxygen

I expect it depends on the supplier and the unit.

I am with Vitalair (BOC) and use liquid O2 for ambulatory at various settings - 2 lpm at rest. The unit I carry around can be switched between continuous supply and on demand supply. The way I use it on continuous, mainly 2lpm with intermittent increases, it lasts 4 hours or so, but it might be turned off during that time. The setting is not fixed.

I have a main tank from which I fill the portable unit. Vitalair automatically telephone on the Tuesday before they swap the main tank and if The tank has 3 or more of the 8 indicator lights lit up I phone them and the visit is postponed. I started on 5 weeks between deliveries and am now on 4, but seem to stretch to 5.

I would hope that all O2 suppliers are as patient as Vitalair and that you and they will find the best routines for you. They should advise at every step.

Good luck.


My understanding is that because I live in the Northeast I would be supplied by BOC so my situation sounds very similar to yours, assuming that the tank is the same as yours.

NEED TO know what size cylinder you have , and are you using a breathing demand valve with the cylinder, that extends the supply to days instead of a few hours

I hope that this does not end up being a duplicate answer as my browser hung after I clicked on submit. The oxygen has not been delivered yet so I am not sure of the size of the cylinder but I did ask for the lightest one. IIf the breathing demand valve produces the same result as an on-demand POC I do not think that it will be there because my oxygen nurse indicated that she did not think that on-demand would work for me.

It is often a difficult time making changes to what we are used to or feel safe with. Your oxygen supplier will take you through safe use as well as operation of your new system, you will already know they dont leave a package at your door for you to work it out yourself. Keep working with your oxygen nurse to find your best system of keeping you active. good luck

Hi Watcher. The Helios LOX system uses a 'Dewar' (the large 'tank') from which you fill your portable unit. My Dewar usually lasts 3 weeks. I fill my portable once daily - although it is fine to do it more often if needed. There is an adjustable flow rate selector on your portable and you can adjust this as needed from between 1 to 6LPM. At 4LPM a full unit should give you 8-10 hours when used in demand/pulsed mode. On the other hand if you choose constant flow it will only last you 2.9 hours. I can usually make mine last a whole day out by having it at just 1 or 2 LPM for 'pottering' and turning it up to 4 or 5LPM only when walking any serious distance, tackling stairs etc. I hope you find it suits your needs. P:)

1 like

Thanks for that answer. If I can get those durations I would be quite pleased. The strategy you are using is exactly what I had in mind but will have to experiment. I can just keep checking with my Oximeter to see what works. I was concerned that the setting would be locked so that I could not adjust it.

Update. BOC arrived on Thursday morning with a portable unit and a main liquid oxygen unit, which now resides in our garage. We spent Thursday shopping with the portable set to 2lpm. It was great and the first time that I really enjoyed the shopping for some time. However, I tried to fill the portable this morning and it did not seem to be filling. Today was my rehab day at the RVI so I took the unit along anyway and they took it to the Oxygen unit and they confirmed that it was not filing. Called BOC when we got home and their engineer came out and confirmed that the unit was faulty. So now I have another portable unit. Hope this one lasts. So far BOC seems to be ok.

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.

You may also like...