How to Find and Fix a Leaking Oxygen Regulator

Apr 8, 2022

How to Find and Fix a Leaking Oxygen Regulator

At-home oxygen therapy can be life-saving, and while at-home oxygen concentrators and tanks are usually safe, that doesn’t mean they’re infallible. Oxygen leaks are one of the most common problems associated with oxygen tanks and, if ignored, can be dangerous and even deadly.

Oxygen cylinders aren’t just used for medical purposes, either. They’re also commonly used in welding, diving, automotive, manufacturing and many other industries. So, how do you know if your O2 regulator is leaking or not? What might happen if a torch oxygen regulator is leaking? And if you have a leaking oxygen regulator, what do you need to do about it?

What is an oxygen regulator?

Oxygen regulators are medical devices that help administer oxygen to patients. It works by reducing the pressure of the oxygen and providing means for adjusting oxygen flow so that the patient can receive oxygen safely and effectively.
Oxygen regulators are available in many different types, from standard regulators to adjustable ones. Regardless of which one you choose, all regulators work the same way. They attach to oxygen tanks or cylinders via a clamp on one side. Oxygen tubing is located at the opposite end of the regulator, which can connect to a nasal cannula or a simple oxygen mask. For non-medical oxygen cylinders, the oxygen regulator can attach to various devices such as welding tools instead of oxygen consumables.

The dangers of leaking regulators

Like any element of an oxygen system, oxygen regulators can break or become damaged. When this happens, it may cause oxygen to leak out of your tank. This can be dangerous, as pure oxygen is a fire and explosion hazard. Elevated oxygen levels can also cause health issues in some cases — for example, if allowed to accumulate in an enclosed or unventilated area.

Is your oxygen regulator leaking? Here’s how to tell

An oxygen leak can cause your tank to deplete faster than normal. If you have a leak, you may notice that your tank seems to have worked fine the day before but is now almost empty. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to verify if your oxygen regulator is leaking. To do so, simply listen for a whistling sound or air escaping, especially where the regulator connects to the oxygen tank.

How to fix an oxygen tank leaking at the regulator

Many oxygen leaks are the result of an improperly aligned regulator or damage to the seal washer (Bodok Seal). Luckily, these problems are relatively easy to repair.

Fixing a damaged seal washer – Bodok Seal

Turn off the oxygen. Remove the regulator and examine the washer to ensure it is in place. Check it for signs of damage, debris, oily residue or build-up. If your washer is missing or damaged, contact your oxygen provider and request a new one.

Fixing an improperly aligned regulator

If your washer appears to be in good condition, the leak may be the result of an improperly installed regulator. To fix this problem, place the regulator back over the valve post, ensuring that the regulator sits levelly on the post. Use the alignment pins to tighten the regulator.

Fixing other regulator issues

After attempting to fix your regulator alignment and seal washer, what happens if you still hear your oxygen gauge leaking? While you may want to fix things yourself, you should never attempt to fix an oxygen tank or regulator beyond the small repairs discussed above.

If your oxygen regulator is leaking from the relief valve or is broken or damaged, you need to replace it or have it checked by a professional. If the previous repairs don’t work, always let your oxygen supplier handle any servicing that your oxygen system may need.

Mega Medical: Providing oxygen tanks, supplies and servicing across Australia

At Mega Medical, we understand that quality oxygen equipment is a must for those using at-home oxygen systems for oxygen therapy or who work in a medical clinic, emergency room or another professional capacity. Intact, functional oxygen regulators and cylinders are essential life-saving devices used across Australia — and that means you should always have quality working equipment on hand when you need it.

If you need a replacement regulator or your oxygen cylinder needs servicing, please reach out to us today online or call us on 1300 881 824.