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, fine 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. There are different types of hoses and some, such as heated hoses, are specific to the manufacturer. The life expectancy of mask cushions and nasal pillows vary based on the care and cleaning of the products, generally lasting three to six months.Shop Now
CPAP Supplies FAQs
- What are the different types of filters?
There are three types of filters used with CPAP machines: Reusable Foam Filters, Disposable Fine Filters, 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 Fine Filters. Disposable fine filters collect much smaller particles. These filters are not meant to be cleaned, but rather discarded when dirty. This filter is placed at the air intake of your machine and is used with a reusable foam filter. It is placed inside the machine first with the foam filter on the outside. This filter should not be washed and is suggested to be replaced every month, or more often with a more dusty environment. Some disposable fine filters also come in a hypoallergenic version. Hypoallergenic filters are made of a combination of two different density filter materials in order to block both the fine and large particulate matter, and are recommended for those suffering from allergies.
Bacteria Filters. Bacteria Filters are fine enough to remove some bacteria and are clinically indicated when a CPAP machine is used by more than one person. Many CPAP users find them helpful in reducing the occurrence of sinus infections and other nasal issues. Bacteria filters can be used with a CPAP/APAP/ or BiPAP machine.
They may be used with humidifiers, but should be removed and allowed to air dry during the day. This filter is placed at the air outtake of your machine if you are not using a humidifier. If you are using a humidifier, it is placed at the air outake of your humidifier. The bacteria filter is placed in the air outtake and the CPAP hose is placed on the other end.
The entire housing is disposable and should be discarded as soon as matter becomes visible. A clogged bacteria filter may affect the amount of air delivered by the CPAP.
All of our available filters can be found here:
Reusable Foam Filters
Disposable Fine Filters
If you are unsure which filters to purchase for your machine, you can use our Part Finder Tool.
- In what order do I insert the 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 as shown in the image below.
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.
- How often should I clean my filters?
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 and bacteria 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.
- How often should I replace my filters?
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 and bacteria filters should be discarded as soon as they become discolored or at least every 30 days.
If you live in a house with pets or smoke, you may need to replace the filters more often.
- What is CPAP tubing / CPAP hose?
CPAP tubing and CPAP hose are interchangeable terms. CPAP hoses / tubing are used for two main purposes: to connect a CPAP or BiLevel machine or a humidifier to a mask, or to connect the machine to a humidifier.
Machine to Mask Hose. A hose is connected to the air outlet of either the machine or humidifier and it connects to the CPAP mask to deliver the airflow to the mask. In the past, the hose used to connect a machine to mask was a standard size. Today, there are a number of different hose options. There are three types of machine to mask hoses:
- Standard / Performance Hose: A long hose or tube is included with each CPAP / BiLevel machine purchase. The connections on all CPAPs, humidifiers and masks are a standard size, so a standard CPAP hose will fit on all. Standard hoses are also available in 8 foot and 10 foot sizes. There are lighter hoses available that were designed to be more flexible and put less pull on the CPAP mask.
- Heated Hose: A heated CPAP hose contains copper coils embedded in or wrapped around the length of the hose. These coils conduct a constant temperature through the hose. The majority of heated hoses are specific to the machine.
- Hose with Sensor Line: A few auto-titrating CPAPs and Bilevels require a pressure line sensor fitted into the hose to detect breathing patterns and pressure needs but the majority of those machines are no longer in production. (Machines which use the tubing pictured below have been discontinued by the manufacturer.)
Humidifier Hose. Humidifier hoses connect a CPAP or BiLevel machine to a stand alone humidifier. Humidifier hoses are shorter than standard hoses. They come in either 18 or 24 inch lengths.
- How often should I replace my CPAP hose?
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.
- What is the purpose of a chinstrap?
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.
Here are some recommended chinstraps:
Ruby-Style Adjustable Chinstrap with Extension Strap
- What styles of chinstraps are there?
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 may 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.
- Are all CPAP hoses the same?
In years gone by, the answer to this question would have been "yes", but today not all hoses are the same and some machines use different hose types. All CPAP hoses / tubings serve the same function: directing the air stream from the machine to the mask.
Historically, a standard CPAP hose is six feet long, has an internal diameter of 19mm and a connector cuff with an internal diameter of 22mm. Today some hoses are 6 feet long, others are 4 foot long, 8 foot long and 10 foot long. Some hoses have an internal diameter of 19mm (standard) and others have an internal diameter of 15mm (thin or slim style). To use a slim 15mm hose, the machine must have a menu option setting to accept the narrower diameter of a 15mm hose and still deliver the prescribed pressure to the mask to ensure effective therapy.
All hoses have a 22mm connection cuff and fit on all CPAP masks. The connection ports on all CPAP, APAP and BiLevel machines, humidifiers, and masks are a standard size, so a standard CPAP hose will fit on all. Some of the very small machines use a hose adapter between the machine and the 22mm cuff of the hose.
Some manufacturers offer a heated hose option designed to work only with their machines. To read more about heated hoses see the "What is a heated CPAP hose?" article included in this FAQ section.
A few auto-titrating CPAPs and BiLevels require a pressure line sensor to detect breathing patterns and pressure needs. The sensor may be in the form of an adapter with narrow tubing attached or the narrow tubing is 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.
- Can I Wash My CPAP Filters?
It depends. Filters on a CPAP machine work exactly like the air filter on a car or home, and remove harmful allergens and irritants from the air. Fine disposable CPAP filters are not meant to be washed and should simply be discarded when turning discolored, or after a specified time period. Reusable CPAP filters are generally made of foam and can be washed and reused, up until the point the foam begins to crumble. When this happens it should be replaced. Most foam reusable filters should be replaced once every 6 months, while most fine disposable filters should be replaced every month.
- Are CPAP Hoses Recyclable?
While some users are able to donate used CPAP equipment such as CPAP machines, masks and hoses really shouldn't be donated to the needy (if they've been used); as these items can harbor germs and pathogens and make the new user sick. Recycling a mask or hose can prove difficult as some of these devices use plastics that aren't recyclable. CPAP masks can use silicone or gel materials and can't be recycled, and some hoses have heating coils in them, which may not be recyclable.For these reasons, it's not a good idea to try and recycle hoses and CPAP masks.
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Did You Know?, CPAP Supplies
- Mask cushions should be replaced every three to six months!
- Using old equipment can cause unfavorable side effects. Keep your equipment up to date.
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