Common Questions About CPAP Machine Filters
CPAP filters are designed to remove dust, mold, and other impurities from the air you breathe as part of your CPAP therapy. There are 3 main types of filters available for CPAP machines: reusable filters, disposable filters, and bacteria filters. Most machines will use both reusable and disposable filters. For CPAP therapy, bacteria filters are optional.
Typically made of fine mesh paper, disposable CPAP filters are a very common type of filter. Like the air filter in your home or car, they are designed to improve the quality of the air you breathe and keep harmful toxins out of your body. A disposable filter is exactly what the name sounds like: it should be disposed of and replaced when the filter begins to look discolored, or after a certain period of time. Each machine uses a disposable filter of a slightly different style, so in order to find the right filter for your machine, you'll need to shop by make, model, and brand. CPAP.com has a handy replacement part finder that can help you find the right replacement parts for your specific machine.
Reusable Filters are made of foam and can be cleaned and reused. Reusable filters aren't substitutes for disposable filters, meaning you can't use a reusable filter in place of a disposable filter. In fact, some CPAP machines use both reusable and disposable filters so you may need both. Like the name says, reusable filters can be cleaned and reused for around 6 months, or sooner if the foam degrades to the point that it starts to break down. At that point, the reusable filter should be replaced with another reusable filter. Each machine requires brand-specific filters, so you'll have to do your homework to find the filter that works with your machine. To find out if your CPAP machine needs a reusable filter, please check out our replacement part finder on the CPAP.com website.
A bacteria filter is self-contained inside a hard plastic bubble and is placed at the end of the hose, in-between the hose and the mask. If you're not using a heated hose, the bacteria filter can go in between the machine air outlet and the hose as well. A bacteria filter removes the smallest irritants and microbes that can still be in your air after running through two different sets of filters. It's disposable and can be discarded and replaced when the filter begins to show signs of discoloration. Bacteria filters are completely optional in CPAP treatment, but many people use them to make sure that the air they're breathing is of the highest quality.
CPAP filters have varying lifespans and should be changed according to the following replacement schedule:
- Disposable Filters: Should be replaced every 4 weeks or sooner if the filter begins to get discolored.
- Reusable Filters: Should be replaced every 6 months or sooner if the foam begins to degrade.
- Bacteria Filters: They're disposable and should be replaced every 30 days or discarded sooner if the filter begins to look discolored.
Reusable filters can be washed and reused, but don't try washing disposable filters! As mentioned earlier disposable filters are made of mesh paper, and if they get wet, they're ruined! You should never attempt to wash a disposable filter and then reuse in your machine. It can cause damage or loss to the CPAP machine.
On the other hand, reusable filters can (and should) be washed. You will need to gently wash it with mild soap and water. Be sure to remove any visible debris during your cleaning process. When finished washing the filter, allow it to air dry. The filter should be completely dry before inserting back into the machine.
Doing a CPAP filter change is fairly easy, and has some quick, simple steps that you can follow to change your CPAP filters:
- Depending on the machine you have, you'll need to locate the slots for the filters, which could be on the side or rear of the machine.
- The filter slot could be covered up by a door, which would need to be opened before ejecting the filter.
- Eject the filter from the machine.
- Slide the replacement filter into the machine.
- For instructions for your specific machine, please review your machine's user manual.