When it comes to your CPAP machine, regularly replacing CPAP supplies like masks, hoses, and filters is essential for maintaining optimal therapy and long-term durability of your machine. The life expectancy of different accessories can depend on how well they are maintained day-to-day, but even with regular cleaning, there are guidelines for how often it is recommended to change things out and maintain optimal CPAP therapy and respiratory health.
CPAP masks (including nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks) should be replaced at least once every 6 months. It is important to replace your mask for a few different reasons:
• As oils from your face seep into the mask with regular use, the material begins to break down and degrade
• Bacteria accumulation, especially if you do not wipe down your mask daily
• Small leaks may develop in the mask, causing seal to become less tight and compromise your quality of sleep
The good news is, most insurance companies recognize the necessity of regular mask changes, and typically provide coverage for a new mask every 3-6 months, or at least once per year.
Although you can typically get a bit more use out of your CPAP hose than your mask, it is still important to switch it out at least once a year. Many insurance companies will make provisions for new hoses as frequently as they do masks, so many people choose to replace their masks and hoses at the same time. Like masks, hoses have potential to accumulate bacteria and affect the efficacy of CPAP therapy and compromise respiratory health. Some signs you may need to replace your hose include:
• Mineral deposits or mold inside the hose
• A visible hole or perforation in the hose
• Stretch marks near the rubber ends of the hose
• Cracked hose material
A comprised hose means compromised treatment – be sure to clean your hose regularly and monitor it for any of these concerns. And if you have pets at home, be sure to look out for claw marks in your hose and try to store it somewhere your furry friends cannot easily access!
Frequently overlooked as they are a bit hidden within your CPAP machine, filters are one of the most important accessories to replace on a regular basis. It is important to replace your CPAP’s filter at least every few months – although more frequent replacement (once a month if possible) is recommended.
The function of a filter is to protect not only your machine, but your respiratory system and overall health. When the CPAP machine takes in air from the room, the filters are there to clear and filter any particulate matter before that air gets to your lungs.
Filters are relatively inexpensive, so many people opt to change them out much more frequently than every few months – for particularly dusty or pet-filled households, monthly replacement is ideal. If you suffer from allergies, replacing your filter regularly is even more important to avoid inhaling any additional allergens, especially in the pollen-heavy spring and summer months here in Calgary! Most CPAP models employ a dual filter system and contain two different kinds of filters:
• Non-Disposable Filters: often built into the machine, composed of foam, can be removed and washed (monthly replacement still recommended with regular cleaning)
• Disposable Filters: thinner, paper-like material filter. This ultrafine filter is intended to catch smaller particulate matter such as dust. (monthly replacement recommended)
Get the longest life possible out of your CPAP machine
Not only does regularly replacing these accessories directly impact your health by preventing illnesses and infection, it also effects the lifespan of your machine. It is our experience that regularly maintained CPAP machines last significantly longer than neglected units. Just like your vehicle or computer, your CPAP unit works best when properly maintained. The time and cost required to regularly clean and replace your supplies is well worth the investment when you consider the alternative of having to pre-maturely replace the machine.