As anyone who uses a CPAP machine to manage their obstructive sleep apnea knows, there is more to this device than the machine itself. Masks, tubing, filters, cushions, and other components also play a vital role in ensuring you have adequate air pressure throughout the night.
However, each of these CPAP supplies has a relatively limited lifespan. Failure to replace this equipment in a timely manner could result in less-than-sufficient sleep apnea therapy. Replacing CPAP accessories based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule will ensure that everything keeps working like it should so you can get the quality rest you need.
The CPAP mask is perhaps the most visible part of your CPAP system, playing a vital role in delivering pressurized air throughout the night. The hard plastic portion of the mask should be replaced every three months. As the plastic ages, it is prone to developing cracks that can allow air to leak while also trapping moisture and bacteria.
Remember, if your mask doesn’t fit comfortably, make sure that the straps are adjusted properly and that your mask is the right size for your face. If you are experiencing significant discomfort, speak with your doctor about switching to a different size or type of mask.
While the CPAP mask should be replaced every three months, the mask cushions need to be replaced even more frequently. This is because the softer silicone used for these areas can crack, and deteriorate from extended contact with the dirt and oils in your skin. As the cushions deteriorate, they are more likely to cause skin irritation and redness, as well as air leaks from not creating a proper seal.
Because of this, full face cushions should be replaced once a month. Nasal pillows and nasal mask cushions may need to be replaced twice per month.
Mask Headgear and Chin Straps
The headgear and chin straps for your mask system help secure the mask to your face. Over time, extended use can cause these parts to become stretched out and lose their elasticity, requiring you to over-tighten them to maintain an effective mask seal. Because of this, these components should be replaced every six months.
Like the CPAP mask, tubing should be replaced every three months. This is because tubing can develop small tears over time that may not always be easily discerned by the naked eye. These tears are most likely to occur between the coils in the tubing, and can allow a significant amount of air to leak out before it ever reaches your mask. This can result in you not getting the recommended amount of air for your treatment needs.
As tubing ages, it may also turn opaque, in part due to condensation and bacterial buildup inside the plastic. Even with proper cleaning techniques, it can become much more difficult to effectively remove bacteria that gets trapped in cracks and crevices in the plastic. As a result, replacing the tubing also reduces your risk of respiratory illness.
CPAP filters may use one or two types of filters, depending on the manufacturer and CPAP model. These filters are designed to trap dust and other pollutants in the air before it is drawn in by the CPAP machine. Most CPAP machines use a white paper filter that needs to be replaced every two weeks. However, some also include an additional foam filter layer that can be rinsed and put back in the machine on this same timeframe. Washable filters should still be replaced every six months.
Many CPAP machines use a humidifier water chamber. Warming and moistening the air that is delivered by the CPAP machine can make therapy more comfortable and minimize the risk of common side effects such as sore throat. This removable plastic chamber typically needs to be replaced every six months.
As with other plastic components, the material used for the water chamber will develop cracks and pitted areas over time, particularly if the water you use for it has higher mineral content. These cracks can also trap bacteria and condensation. Using distilled water and emptying the water chamber each day will prevent mineral damage and bacterial buildup.
What About the CPAP Machine?
CPAP machines have a much longer lifespan, but they should typically be replaced after five years. This not only ensures that your system won’t fail unexpectedly, but also allows you to take advantage of new and improved technology that can make your treatment more comfortable and effective. This is also the timeframe that most insurance companies follow for covering replacing this equipment.
If your CPAP machine fails before then, contact your device manufacturer to see if it is still under warranty coverage. Depending on the warranty terms, you may not need to pay for your replacement device, even if you don’t have insurance.
Get What You Need From Help Medical Supplies
Restocking on needed CPAP supplies can add up quickly, but it doesn’t have to become a source of financial stress. At Help Medical Supplies, you’ll find a wide range of quality CPAP supplies from top brands available at discounted prices. In addition, you can also enjoy free shipping on all orders of $89 or more, as well as available financing on select purchases.
By getting the right replacement parts at a price you can afford — and on the recommended timetable — you can ensure the ongoing effectiveness of your sleep apnea therapy.