The most common size tank for patient home use is the E-tank. The E-tanks are cylinders that are probably the largest size that are suitable to take with you for travel or portability. These tanks are usually transported via a small cart that can be pulled by the patient or caregiver and provide about 5 hours of oxygen. (This would be a full tank with 2000 psi at a flow rate of 2 liters per minute.) The E-tanks are also suitable for emergency backup due to the amount of oxygen available in them. Generally, the volume in them lasts long enough to provide oxygen during a short period of time such as a power outage caused by a storm when a concentrator may not function.
No matter what the size of the tank, it still requires a regulator to allow the oxygen to flow from the tank at the prescribed rate. The regulator must be attached to the tank at the top. The representative from your equipment company will demonstrate how to attach these
regulators to the tanks.
Attaching the Regulator:
There is a space in the regulator that can be slipped over the top of the tank.
The regulator has two “pins” that fit in the two holes in the side of the tank at the top.
When the two “pins” fit into the holes on the tank, the regulator should be tightened on the tank to a snug fit.
The regulator tightens down on the tank by screwing down the lever sort of like an “old fashioned” nutcracker.
When the regulator is tightened down tight enough, you should not hear any sound when you open the tank.
To open the tank (some tanks have a toggle on top of the tank) take the tool provided and fit the tool on the very top of the tank and turn the tank to the open position. (Do not use a regular wrench or pliers. This could cause damage to the tank or even a more serious accident.) You will know that the tank is opened because the gauge on the regulator will move into a different position indicating the quantity of oxygen remaining in the tank.
For example, if the tank is full, then the needle on the regulator gauge will move into the full position. If the tank is only partially full, then the needle on the gauge will move to the position on the gauge to show the contents at that time. (It is a good idea to keep the tool to open the tanks close at hand at all times. Some folks will tie a string around it and tie it to the E-tank cart.)
Never use any petroleum-based oils or grease on or around the oxygen tanks.
Never store the tanks near a flame.
Never use or store the tanks in a small-enclosed area.
Never allow anyone to operate this equipment that has not been trained to operate the tank and regulator.
Always store tanks in a secured area where they cannot fall or be knocked over.
Oxygen - Portable tanks - instructions