Filters, tubing and mask cushions are the items that most often need to be replaced. Filters help to clean the air generated by the CPAP machine. In general filters should be replaced every four weeks. People living in homes with smoke or pets will need to replace CPAP filters more frequently. Tubing should be replaced every 12 months, while the life expectancy of mask cushions varies based on the brand and model. Visit the CPAPtalk.com forum or the specific product page of the CPAP mask to know when to replace your mask cushion.
Yes, all CPAPs use at least one filter that is usually a type of foam material and washable. Some CPAPs offer finer filtration with the addition of a disposable paper filter.
Cleaning and changing filters is the only maintenance required for a CPAP machine.
The filters are located at the back of the machine at the air intake. The image below shows the black foam filter at the back of the Everest 3 CPAP Machine.
There are five types of filters used with CPAP machines: reusable foam filters, disposable white fine filters, standard disposable filters for ResMed machines, hypoallergenic disposable filters for ResMed machines and bacteria filters.
Reusable Foam Filters. Reusable foam filters are placed at the air intake of the machine and are designed to catch larger particles. These filters can be lightly washed with a mild detergent to remove any particles that have collected. It is suggested to replaced a foam filter every 3 months or when the filter starts to break down. If a foam and disposable filter are used in a machine, the foam filter should be on the outside.
Disposable Filters. These filters cannot be washed. There are three types of disposable filters:
If using both a foam and paper filter, the white paper filter is inserted into the filter area first. Some paper filters use the same material on both sides and either side can face into the machine. Other paper filters may have a plastic mesh side and a soft, fuzzy side. Insert the mesh side facing into the machine and the fuzzy side facing out of the machine. If the paper filter has a tab, fold it facing out of the machine for easy removal. The foam filter is inserted into the filter area after the paper filter is installed. The foam filter will catch the larger dirt particles first.
If you are using a two colored filter, the colored side faces out as shown in the image below.
Washable foam filters should be cleaned as soon as they become discolored. Manufacturers recommend foam filters be rinsed weekly under clear running water and allowed to air dry before being reinstalled in the machine. If the machine is used in a very dusty environment, the foam filter may require more frequent cleaning.
Disposable filters are not intended to be cleaned but rather changed out, disposing of the used filter. Manufacturers recommend changing the disposable filter once a month, more frequently if used in a very dusty environment.
Reusable foam filters should be replaced when they deteriorate and begin to fall apart, much as a sponge does. The foam filter should be washed with a mild detergent monthly and should be replaced every 3 months or more if the foam is torn.
Disposable fine filters should be discarded as soon as they become discolored or at least every 30 days.
Standard Disposable Filters for ResMed machines should be discarded every month or more often if the machine is in a dusty environment.
Hypoallergenic Disposable Filters for ResMed machines should be discarded every month or more often if the machine is in a dusty environment.
If you live in a house with pets or smoke, you may need to replace the filters more often.
Wondering which filters work for your machine? Or trying to find the right replacement power cord? To find what parts are compatible with your machine or to find what parts of your machine are replaceable you can:
Machines come with a six foot hose, power cord, at least one filter, and manuals. Most manufacturers include a carrying case which is designed specifically for their equipment. CPAP / BiPAP / APAP machines do not come with a delivery system or mask. CPAP Masks must be purchased separately.
To see the list of what specifically comes with each machine, you can browse for a machine. Then on the product page, click the "Specs" tab to see a full list of what comes with the machine.
The only care a CPAP or BiPAP machine requires is to clean or change the filters at the air intake. This keeps the internal parts from accumulating dust. Fine paper filters should be changed out every 30 days, or when they appear soiled. Foam washable filters should be rinsed with clear running water once a week, allowed to air dry, and reinserted.
There are some other suggested actions to care for your machine:
For many masks there are parts that are replaceable such as the mask cushion, headgear, headgear clips and other parts. To find parts which are compatible with your mask, or to find which parts of your mask are replaceable, you can:
Masks should be washed daily with warm water using a very gentle soap or baby shampoo, and left to air dry. Never use antibacterial soap as it will break down the silicone of the mask cushion. Avoid soaps that include lotion which can coat the mask and cause it to lose its seal. A safe cleaner is the Control III Disinfectant CPAP Cleaning Solution. Remember, going to bed with a clean face will improve your seal and protect the lifespan of your mask.
The best time to clean your mask is in the morning after use. This removes the oils left behind from your skin which can reduce the lifespan of your mask. We recommend using mask wipes to make daily morning cleaning easy. The mask wipes are made from materials that will not break down your mask.
Medicare allows for mask cushion replacement every three (3) months, and a complete mask system replacement every six (6) months. CPAP manufacturers and vendors suggest these replacement schedules as well.
In our experience, most mask cushions begin to deteriorate after about six months of use. The cushion eventually becomes too soft to hold a seal. The headgear straps lose elasticity and must be tightened more and more to get the same quality seal.
We strongly suggest replacing cushions and pillows as soon as they start to soften. Air leaks may reduce the effectiveness of CPAP therapy and headgear that is too tight may cause facial sores at pressure points. In most cases, replacement headgear is available if it is stretched out or the Velcro worn out.
To see what parts of your mask are replaceable refer to our Replacement Part Finder. Just search for your mask to see all of the replaceable parts.
Yes, all CPAP masks and CPAP humidifier chambers either contain BPA or their manufacturer has not released a statement calling their products BPA free. Here is a statement released by Respironics:
Government of Canada Takes Action on Another Chemical of Concern: Bisphenol A
April 25th 2008
To Whom It May Concern
This document represents Respironics' position regarding the use of Bisphenol A in Respironics Sleep and Home Respiratory Devices. On April 18, 2008, the Government of Canada, banned the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate baby bottles, claiming that the exposure to BPA on newborns and infants up to 18 months of age, could potentially present a health risk to this patient group when the polycarbonate baby bottles are exposed to high temperatures.
At this time, we are able to provide the following information to our customer: NONE of our Sleep and Home Respiratory products which are either breathable or skin contacting are intended for use with newborns or infants under 18 months of age. Therefore, Respironics is in compliance with Health Canada's position for exposure for the identified at risk patient population.
Although Health Canada's restriction for BPA does not include products used for ages above 18 months at this time, Respironics is evaluating its product portfolio and will take the appropriate actions to determine and mitigate any potential risk from use of its products or potential exposure to BPA. It should be noted that NOT all polycarbonate resins contain BPA. In response to the direction provided by Health Canada's device licensing division, Respironics will be evaluating all of our Class II and III medical devices to determine if the resins used in the manufacturer of its products contain BPA.
Further, none of our products or accessories using polycarbonate are labeled for exposure.
In closing it is Respironics position that our products do not pots any increased risk of exposure to BPA for our users and thus our products remain safe for use.
If you have any further question regarding this topic, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 724-387-4120.
Zita Yurko Director, Regulatory Affairs Sleep and Home Respiratory Division Respironics, Inc.
CPAP tubing and CPAP hose are interchangeable terms. CPAP hoses/tubing are used for two main purposes: either to connect the machine or humidifier to the CPAP mask, or to connect the machine to a humidifier.
Machine to Mask Hose. Machine to mask hoses are the standard hose used with most therapy setups. The hose is connected to the air outlet of either the machine or humidifier and connects to the CPAP mask to deliver the airflow to the mask. There are three types of machine to mask hoses:
All CPAPs use basically the same hose, but there may be additions that are necessary to operate certain machines.
A standard CPAP hose is six feet long. The ports on all CPAPs, humidifiers and masks are a standard size and so a standard CPAP hose will fit on all. The best hoses are smooth-bored for less noise.
Many auto-titrating CPAPs and bilevels require a pressure line senor to detect breathing patterns and pressure needs. The sensor may be in the form of an adapter with narrow tubing attached, or narrow tubing threaded inside the six foot hose. In both cases, one end of the narrow tubing is plugged into the machine. Those machines will not operate without the pressure line sensor.
There are certain delivery devices, such as the Comfort Curve, which require a special CPAP hose, too.
Water collects in the six foot hose when the ambient room air is much colder than the heated CPAP air, or when there is too much moisture being produced by the humidifier.
First be sure that no vents or fans blow directly onto the CPAP hose.
Next, try turning down the temperature on the heated humidifier. If that alleviates the problem but causes irritation to the nasal passages, return the humidifier to the previous setting and add an insulating cover to the hose.
If neither response works, try using a heated CPAP hose.
Rainout is the accumulation of water in a CPAP tube due to warm moist air cooling and condensating on its way from your CPAP machine to your CPAP mask.
The image below from Fisher & Paykel explains how rainout is formed. Warm moist air leaves the heated humidifier and travels down the CPAP tube. As the air travels down the tube the room temperature cools the tube and thereby cools the air traveling down the tube. As the air cools, it releases its moisture and condensation occurs, otherwise known as rainout.
Solutions to rainout include:
A heated CPAP hose contains copper coils embedded in, or wrapped around, the hose. These coils are gently heated to conduct a constant temperature throughout the length of the hose. This enhances the comfort of the therapy and reduces or eliminates rainout caused by the water compensating as it travels through the hose to the mask.
Heated hoses are more expensive alternatives to cloth tubing insulation, but they prevent rainout in nearly all cases. The ComfortLine Heated Tubing Kit is a stand alone option that can be used with any machine to prevent rainout and increase delivered humidification.
Some manufacturers have developed heated hoses to work specifically with select machines in their product lines. The ClimateLine Tubing is used with S9 and H5i Climate Control System machines.
The following video shows how to install a ClimateLine hose on a S9 Series Machine with H5i Heated Humidifier:
The PR System One Heated Tube is used with PR System One 60 Series CPAP Machines.
The ThermoSmart Heated Hose is used with Fisher & Paykel 600 Series machines.
A hose cover is placed over the hose in order to insulate the hose and to make the hose more comfortable. The simplest and most cost effective way to insulate a CPAP hose is to wrap it in an insulating fabric. This enables the hose to remain flexible and adds little weight.
Companies such as Snugglehose provide a cost effective tubing insulation available in several colors and styles. Not only will the covers reduce or eliminate rainout, they also provide a more personal and less institutionalized appearance. An example of a Snugglehose is shown below.
Cool air holds less moisture than warm air. If warm air from a heated humidifier cools while moving through the CPAP hose, water will condensate inside the hose rather than travel to the user. The condensation that accumulates inside the CPAP hose is referred to as "rainout."
Insulating the CPAP hose will help maintain the moisture in the airflow all the way to the mask.
Your CPAP hose will last longer if it is detached every morning and hung to air dry.
Drying the hose each morning will also prevent bacteria from growing in the damp interior and help reduce the possibility of colds and other health issues. Remember, what is in the hose goes into the airway.
If you are not drying the hose daily, then be sure to replace the hose very frequently as negative health issues will result!
Hose care tips:
CPAP hoses can last a long time, sometimes up to a year if taken care of properly.
Signs of wear include dry, cracked places on the inside lining or on the rubber ends; "stretch marks" near the rubber ends; mineral deposits or mold from water left inside the hose; or a visible puncture or tear in the material.
There are a few ways to keep from getting tangled up in your CPAP tubing. Try running your CPAP hose behind the headboard of your bed. There are also several types of suspension systems we carry here at CPAP.com. You can see the different types of Hose Management Systems under our Comfort & Cleaning section. An example of a hose management system, the CPAP Hose Lift System, is shown below.
Nasal delivery devices are the preferred mode of delivering CPAP air. They are smaller, lighter and usually more comfortable, with many styles and sizes to choose from.
When using a nasal device with a CPAP, it is imperative that the mouth remain closed for the pressure to be maintained and the therapy to be effective. Most people will automatically keep their mouth closed while on CPAP, but some are unable to do so, at least in the beginning of the therapy.
Use of a chinstrap is the first response to opening the mouth during sleep. It is worn in addition to the CPAP mask to hold the jaw up and help keep the mouth closed.
Even with the use of a chinstrap, some people are still able to breathe through their teeth and lips. If so, a full face mask is an option worth considering.
A basic chinstrap cups the chin and has narrow straps that connect at the top of the head, usually with Velcro. It works best for those who sleep on their side and who do not open their mouth very much. The straps may fall forward or backward on the head if not held in place by the mask headgear. An example of this type of chinstrap is the Sullivan Chinstrap.
For greater strength, a wider chinstrap is available. The width of the strap is sufficient to cup the chin, and narrow straps are available to attach across the forehead to keep the chinstrap from falling back, as well as across the back of the head to keep it from falling forward. This style of chinstrap is more stable, but it will cover the ears. An example of this type of chinstrap is the Premium Chinstrap.
Another style of chinstrap is a series of straps that cup the chin at a lower angle for greater support, and include the stabilizing straps in the design. An example of this type of chinstrap is the CPAP.com Deluxe Chinstrap.