Managing your sleep apnea with the help of a CPAP device isn’t a “one and done” medical purchase. To ensure quality outcomes for your therapy, ongoing care will be required for your device — and this will largely depend on your purchase of the right replacement parts and accessories for your unit.
Here at Help Medical Supplies, we provide a wide range of parts and accessories that are compatible with top CPAP brands like Philips Respironics and ResMed to ensure that you get the best possible results from your treatment.
While not every CPAP user will want (or necessarily need) all the accessories discussed here, many of them are essential for your ongoing care. Others will make it much easier to care for your device.
Without further ado, here is a closer look at the CPAP accessories and replacement parts that will have the biggest impact on your treatment as you adapt to using a CPAP device.
As helpful as CPAP devices can be, the high humidity environment of your mask and tubing is the perfect place for bacterial buildup to occur. As we’ve noted previously, if the mask and tubing aren’t cleaned properly, they will begin to develop an unpleasant odor. In some cases, fungus or mold growth could occur inside the tubing. Failure to clean the tubing after you are sick can also cause germs to linger in your equipment, making you more likely to get sick again.
Exposure to such contaminants will increase your risk for severe respiratory infections such as bronchitis, which makes consistent cleaning an essential priority. While the methods of hand washing and soaking your equipment most often recommended by CPAP manufacturers are effective, they can also be quite time-consuming. Because of this, many CPAP users don’t clean their equipment as often as they should — or they forget about it entirely. This is where speciality cleaning devices come in.
Products like the SoClean 2 Automated CPAP Cleaner and Sanitizer and the VirtuCLEAN CPAP and Mask Automatic Cleaner essentially automate the cleaning process. All you have to do to use these systems is hook up your equipment to the device, turn it on, and let it do its job. These cleaning systems use activated oxygen (or ozone) to thoroughly disinfect your mask, tubing, and water chamber, killing over 99 percent of germs and bacteria.
With a true “set it and forget it” cleaning setup, you won’t have to worry about neglecting your cleaning routine.
Other Cleaning Supplies
If purchasing a CPAP cleaning device seems like too big of an investment for your needs, there are still other cleaning products available to streamline this important element of your CPAP routine. For example, CPAP mask wipes provide an affordable and convenient solution for daily mask cleaning. These wipes are designed to get rid of bacteria, grease, and even dirt without the need for washing your equipment.
Perhaps even more importantly, CPAP mask wipes are made with natural ingredients and are free of latex and alcohol. This ensures that they won’t have any adverse effects on your skin, while still providing effective cleaning of your CPAP equipment. A travel cleaning spray is also available in a compact size so you can have an easier time taking care of your equipment while on the go.
Cleaning the inside of your CPAP tubing can be especially tricky, but there are accessories to help with this, too. CPAP tube cleaning brushes use a stainless steel wire paired with a soft nylon brush, making it easy to perform a thorough scrub on the inside of your tubing. These tools are great for removing buildup that you wouldn’t be able to remove simply by soaking the tubes in soap and water.
Speaking of water, many new CPAP users don’t realize that the water they use for their device’s humidifier matters. The humidifier itself plays an important role by allowing greater control over the temperature and humidity level of the air delivered by your device. This can help prevent congestion, sore throat, dry mouth, and other common side effects of compressed air therapy.
Unfortunately, many CPAP users unknowingly damage their system by using tap water. Most tap water is at least somewhat “hard,” meaning it contains minerals such as iron and calcium. When this water is put in the humidifier, it can result in scale buildup that discolors and damages the equipment. If microbes and bacteria are present in the tap water, you could put yourself at risk of illness.
Because of this, CPAP manufacturers recommend that you use distilled water for your humidifier, especially if traveling to an area where the tap water has been deemed unsafe to drink. Distilled water for CPAP humidifiers is available in single bottles or in packs of up to 31 bottles, ensuring that the water going into your water chamber is safe for you and your equipment.
While most CPAP equipment is designed with universal compatibility in mind, there are certain situations where various adapters may be needed. Most adapters are used to ensure mask compatibility with a cleaning device or travel CPAP unit, such as with the SoClean ResMed AirSense and AirCurve Adapter or the Human Design Medical Z1 Custom Tube Adapter.
Adapters are also available to ensure that you can access the local power supply, no matter where your travels might take you. DC and AC adapters are available for several CPAP devices so you can enjoy a consistent power supply.
While these adapters won’t be needed by all CPAP users, you should always double-check your equipment specifications when buying and consider how (and where) you plan to use your device. This way, you can purchase any needed adapters at the same time you buy your equipment.
Just because you rely on a CPAP device for sleep apnea therapy doesn’t mean you can’t live out your travel dreams! CPAP devices are FAA approved, ensuring that you can take them with you on your flight. However, keeping your equipment and accessories organized and protected will ensure that nothing gets lost or damaged during your travels.
Thankfully, many CPAP machine manufacturers produce travel cases with sturdy construction and dedicated compartments to keep everything safe and organized. These compact cases fit easily into carry-on luggage.
Travel cases are available for most CPAP models, ranging from the Respironics DreamStation CPAP Travel Case to the more compact ResMed AirMini Travel Case. Philips Respironics also offers a bedside organizer that provides a convenient and discreet location for storing a mask and tubing at home or on the go — a great option when your night stand has limited space.
Even though you can prevent bacterial buildup inside your CPAP tubing with consistent cleaning, the tubes won’t last forever. Over time, normal wear and tear will cause CPAP tubing to develop cracks or holes. Much of this damage is invisible to the naked eye, which will result in tiny leaks. These leaks will often be enough to keep you from receiving the prescribed therapy settings needed to help you avoid sleep apnea incidents.
To ensure that your tubing doesn’t undermine your therapy routine, most manufacturers recommend that you replace CPAP tubing after approximately 3 months of use (though some manufacturers allow for a lengthier time frame).
We offer a wide variety of replacement CPAP tubing to help you get the best results from your therapy. Heated, extra-flexible, lightweight, and standard tubes are all available to better match your budget and treatment preferences. Remember, some machines use proprietary tubing and aren’t compatible with third-party options. Double-check your user manual to ensure that you get the right tubing.
Replacement Masks & Headgear
CPAP masks and headgear are among the most important pieces of equipment involved in sleep apnea therapy. Masks and headgear work together to ensure an airtight, yet comfortable fit that will prevent air leaks and allow you to get a full night’s rest. However, because masks are in direct contact with your skin, exposure to facial oils and other contaminants will cause mask components to break down relatively quickly. Soft silicone mask cushions, in particular, will break down much faster than other components due to their excessive skin contact.
When this occurs, leaks become much more likely, which can compromise your treatment and even irritate your eyes. Because of this, most manufacturers recommend that users replace nasal mask cushions and nasal pillow cushions every 14 days. Those who use a full face mask should replace their mask cushions once a month.
The hard plastic masks and headgear that comprise your mask system will also need to be replaced, though not as frequently. Headgear should typically be replaced every 6 months to avoid the resulting discomfort that comes from a loss of elasticity, while masks should be replaced every 3 months. The frame system that helps connect the mask to the headgear may also need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months.
Following these guidelines for these interconnected mask components won’t just prevent air leaks. It will also ensure more hygienic treatment by limiting your exposure to bacteria and skin oils, which could cause rashes and irritation. If you have trouble maintaining a good seal with your mask or notice excessive leaks, it is probably time to buy a replacement, even if you haven’t reached the recommended replacement period yet.
Most CPAP devices use one or two filters to keep dust, bacteria, and other airborne particles out of your tubing and mask. Over time, however, these filters will get clogged or wear out, which increases the likelihood of such contaminants getting into the system. To ensure better air quality, older filters will need to be replaced on a regular basis.
Many CPAP devices include both disposable filters and washable “replaceable” filters. While disposable filters will typically need to be replaced once or twice per month, the washable filters have a much longer lifespan — often closer to 6 months.
Exact specifications vary based on your CPAP device, so be sure to check the user manual so you know when you will need to replace your filters. At Help Medical Supplies, we offer filters for a wide range of devices, including optional extras like the Disposable Ultra Fine Filters for DreamStation CPAP & BiPAP Machines. With improved air quality, you can enjoy even better results from your treatment.
Humidifier Water Chambers
Sometimes simply referred to as “water tanks,” humidifier water chambers may not need to be replaced as frequently as other CPAP components, but they will still need to be replaced as normal wear and tear decreases their performance capabilities. Generally speaking, humidifier water chambers should be replaced after 6 months of use. This is because material deterioration can cause cracks or pitting that trap bacteria, increasing your risk of a respiratory infection. This is especially likely if you use non-distilled water for your humidifier, which can also shorten the effective lifespan of the water chamber.
Humidifiers themselves are often sold as a separate accessory that attaches to a CPAP device (such as with the Respironics DreamStation Heated Humidifier). However, only the water chamber needs to be replaced. These plastic water chambers are much less expensive, ensuring that this twice-yearly purchase won’t strain your budget.
Here at Help Medical Supplies, we understand that getting everything you need for proper CPAP therapy can be a bit costly, especially when insurance doesn’t provide full coverage for the equipment and accessories you need for your therapy.
This is why we offer CPAP machines and many CPAP accessories and replacement parts at discounted prices so you can better afford your treatment. We also offer free shipping on orders of $89 or more — so when you stock up on several needed supplies in a single order, you can save even more!
To help you get started with your therapy, we also offer bundle packs that include the initial set of replacement supplies, such as extra hoses and disposable filters, to help you get used to your equipment replacement schedule.
We also offer bundles that combine several of the replacement parts you need in a single package, such as our Philips Respironics DreamStation Replacement Bundle, which includes a tube, water tank, reusable pollen filter, and several disposable filters.
Adapting to a CPAP parts replacement schedule and making room for CPAP accessories in your budget may take some getting used to, but it is well worth it in the long run. By mitigating the effects of sleep apnea so you can get better sleep each night, you will be able to take charge of your health and avoid more serious issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.