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Electricity brings so many benefits to our lives that its value is hard to quantify. Many people in Bedford, TX, and across the United States depend on electricity for their health. Oxygen concentrators, ventilators, IV pumps and monitors of all shapes and sizes can now be kept at home. Home health equipment takes electricity from a vehicle of modern convenience to a resource necessary to maintain health and quality of life.
Home Health Equipment
Home health devices, sometimes called durable medical equipment or DMES, are used by a diverse range of people from babies to senior citizens.
The CDC states that approximately 685,000 people in the United States rely on lifesaving electrical equipment. That number does not include people with equipment that greatly improves life but could be missed for a short period without risk of fatality. Estimates for people using health-related electrical appliances such as oxygen concentrators and IV pumps fall between 50 to 58 million Americans at any given time.
Durable medical equipment includes:
- Oxygen concentrators
- CPAP and BIPAP machines
- Home ventilators
- Dialysis machines
- Ventricular assist devices
- Nutrition/feeding pumps
- Cardiac pumps
- Nebulizers/breathing treatments
- Pulse oximetry monitors
- IV pumps
- Hospital beds
- Pressure Relief Mattresses
Electrical Infrastructure and Demand
Support devices used in home health care require high quality alternating current to function correctly. It is very important to consult a professional electrician to make sure a home’s electrical framework is suitable before installing medical equipment. Durable medical equipment is also vulnerable to power disturbances, such as surges, brownouts, swells, electrical noise and outages.
Oxygen concentrators require significant amounts of electricity. The size of the concentrator and dosage setting determine how much electricity is used. Most are much too large and use far too much electricity to run on a battery of any kind. A 30-pound concentrator producing 0.5 to 5 LPM of oxygen uses an average maximum wattage of 350. Concentrators capable of delivering up to 10 LPM push maximum wattage up to 590 watts.
Many households with oxygen concentrators in Bedford, TX, also use air conditioning on a regular basis. Hot weather and high humidity can make breathing a chore for people with respiratory illnesses, so keeping indoor environments cool and dry becomes an important priority.
The combination of oxygen concentrators and constant cooling through central air or individual AC units, puts enormous strain on a home’s electrical system. Routine maintenance and inspections from a professional electrician are essential. Putting so much strain on electrical infrastructure without the help of an electrician can have serious consequences. Equipment may not function correctly. Faulty wiring can damage vital supportive equipment and even spark house fires.
Safeguarding Supportive Equipment
Surge suppressors protect equipment from spikes, surges and electrical noise, although these protective devices are not foolproof. There is a difference between power strips and surge suppressors. A suppressor has protective elements while a power strip offers very limited or no protection. The wide range of available surge suppressors and power strips can be confusing, but your local electrician is a valuable resource for protecting vital electronic devices.
Suppressors are rated by size of the voltage spike they can manage. This rating is measured in Joules, so equipment must be matched to a surge suppressor with an appropriate Joule rating. An electrician can help you choose surge suppressors with the best chance of protecting home health equipment.
Power conditioners can filter electrical noise as well as protect equipment from surges. Some power conditioners maintain continuous voltage, through automatic voltage regulation, to equipment throughout a brownout. Consult your local electrician to learn more about power conditioners and decide if they are appropriate for your home.
Generators and Inclement Weather
Generators let medical equipment function during a power outage and offer peace of mind. The required size and type of generator depends on the equipment it will run and any other functions the household wants to use.
Each piece of equipment should come with a manual that provides details on the amount of electricity required to use it. Other factors include fuel type and availability, size of the home, and the setting where the generator will function. A qualified electrician can help you determine the most appropriate type of generator for your household and take care of installation and set-up.
Medical needs requiring electricity aren’t always machines. Some medications must be kept refrigerated. Letting these medications sit out in the open or in a refrigerator that has no power supply, ruins effectiveness and makes the medications unsafe.
An ice chest or cooler is one solution for keeping medications safe, but this isn’t a long-term solution. Eventually the ice will melt. Some people keep a small refrigerator to hook up to a generator in case of power failure. Smaller units use much less power than a full-size refrigerator and keep essential items, such as insulin and other medications, safe. Call your local electrician for advice on generators and refrigeration in case of a widespread power outage.
Inclement weather can bring about more challenges than just a power failure. Wind, rain and general environmental hazards brought about by chaotic weather can also bring a risk of electrical hazards, including burns, shocks and electrocution.
Many people choose alternate arrangements, such as going to a friend or family member’s home or seeking help at a hospital, when flooding or strong winds are a possibility. Possible dangers may not seem as obvious with only small leaks or water that has entered a home in only a few places.
This sense of safety is misleading though. Even a small amount of water can damage electrical equipment, and lightning strikes or power surges in the immediate area can damage electronics in homes that don’t seem to be directly affected. Call an electrician to inspect your home’s wiring and any home health equipment to make sure it hasn’t been damaged after any amount of water makes it inside.
Call the professionals at Tioga Plumbing, Electric, and Glass to help install and protect important electronic equipment.