- While your CPAP machine plays a vital role in helping you mitigate the effects of sleep apnea, there is more to effective treatment than the device itself. Mask systems, tubing, filters, and other accessories also play a role in ensuring that you can sleep soundly through the night.
Like any other medical equipment, however, your CPAP supplies won’t last forever. By understanding the general guidelines for replacing this equipment, you can have confidence that your CPAP accessories are performing at their best. Here are the timelines for replacing various CPAP components so you can always enjoy highly effective therapy.
When manufacturer replacement guidelines talks about replacing the CPAP mask, they are referring to the hard plastic portion of the mask — the part that goes over your nose (and sometimes, your mouth as well), and connects to the tubing. This plastic portion should generally be replaced after three months of use.
While this seems like a short period, keep in mind that the CPAP masks are undergoing continuous use throughout the night. This causes faster wear and deterioration than you might experience with other plastic items. Continual use will cause the plastic to develop small cracks that allow air to leak out, reducing the effectiveness of your therapy. These cracks could also trap moisture and bacteria, increasing your risk of getting sick.
Mask cushions actually need to be replaced even more frequently than the hard plastic portion of the CPAP mask. Cushions used for full face masks should be replaced once per month, while cushions used for nasal masks and nasal pillows should usually be replaced every two weeks.
The softer silicone used for the cushions comes in direct contact with your skin — and by extension, the oils and dirt that can accumulate in your pores. Nightly exposure to these contaminants will cause the cushions to deteriorate and crack. This can keep them from forming a proper seal against your skin, greatly increasing the likelihood of air leaks. Skin irritation is also common as silicone deteriorates.
Your mask system relies on headgear and chin straps to hold the mask snugly against your face and provide a comfortable fit. Adjusting these straps night after night will eventually cause them to lose their elasticity and get stretched out beyond their original state. This can make it harder to keep the mask secured against your face, requiring you to uncomfortably over-tighten the straps. Headgear and chin straps should generally be replaced after six months of use.
CPAP tubing or hoses play a vital role in delivering pressurized air from the CPAP machine to your mask. Like the hard plastic portion of the mask, the tubing should be replaced after three months of use.
Over time, CPAP tubing has a tendency to develop small tears that allow air to leak out before it reaches your mask. These leaks are especially common between the coils, which can make them hard to spot with the naked eye. Aging CPAP hoses will also turn opaque as a result of condensation and bacterial buildup. Bacteria becomes increasingly difficult to remove as the plastic deteriorates, even when you follow recommended cleaning guidelines. Replacing tubing ensures more effective sleep apnea treatment and makes you less likely to get sick.
There are multiple types of filters that your CPAP machine might use. By trapping dust and other air pollutants, the filters help prevent respiratory irritation. The vast majority of CPAP machines use a white paper filter that should be replaced twice a month (or every two weeks).
Some CPAP devices also use a washable foam filter layer. These filters are typically washed at the same time the paper filters are replaced. However, after six months of use, the washable filters should also be replaced.
A humidifier water chamber can make treatment more comfortable and reduce the risk of side effects like a sore throat by adding moisture to the air that is delivered by your CPAP machine. The hard plastic will eventually crack and develop pitted areas that can trap bacteria and condensation. Because of this, water chambers should be replaced every six months.
If you use “hard water” (or water with high mineral content), this damage could occur more rapidly. Use distilled water to keep the water chamber in good shape.
The CPAP Machine
As the most expensive element of your CPAP system, it should come as a relief knowing that CPAP machines generally have an expected lifespan of five to seven years. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the device after five years to reduce the risk of unexpected failures, while also ensuring that you have access to any improvements that have been made to CPAP machine technology during that time. Premature failure may be covered under your manufacturer warranty.
Get Your CPAP Supplies Through No Insurance Medical Supplies
Staying on top of your CPAP equipment resupply needs can sometimes feel like a daunting task — especially if you don’t have insurance to pay for your replacement equipment. Even relatively inexpensive items like tubing can add up quickly when you’re paying completely out of pocket.
This is where No Insurance Medical Supplies can help. We carry a wide range of CPAP equipment, from CPAP machines and masks to tubing and replacement cushions. More importantly, the vast majority of the products we offer are available at significant discounts off of MSRP, allowing you to save more on these necessary purchases. Financing is also available on purchases of $500 or more.
By following equipment replacement guidelines, you will enjoy more effective sleep apnea treatment so you can get the rejuvenating rest that you need and deserve.