How to Maintain and Care for Your CPAP Device
It’s our job to make CPAP device usage as comfortable as possible. This is why we’ve created this guide on how to properly maintain and care for your CPAP device.
Cleaning your CPAP on a regular basis will protect you from mold or harmful bacteria, which can result in respiratory illnesses and infections. Most importantly, cleaning your CPAP device can help you get the most benefit out of your CPAP therapy.
Sleep apnea is a severe illness that can lead to serious health complications in the long term. Considering that this sleep disorder is best treated with CPAP therapy, patients must have a solid understanding of how to care for their device to receive the most out of this treatment.
Read on to learn about the parts of a CPAP device, how to get replacement parts, and frequently asked questions regarding CPAP device maintenance.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Understanding the Parts of a CPAP Device
- CPAP Machine
- Humidifier & Water Chamber
- CPAP Tubing
- CPAP Machine Filters
- CPAP Mask
- Replacing Your CPAP Device’s Parts
- Frequently Asked Questions about CPAP Device Maintenance
- Will Insurance Pay for My Device’s Replacement Parts?
- How RemZzzs® Mask Liners Fit In
Understanding the Parts of a CPAP Device
Continuous positive airway pressure devices are used to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. They’ve got a few different parts that require regular care and maintenance, but with the help of this guide, you’ll easily understand each part, how it helps you, and how to keep it working properly.
This is the whole device that pumps air into your lungs while you sleep. With continuous air pressure (supplied by the CPAP machine) your airways will remain open while sleeping. This ensures that there’s less snoring, random periods of being awake, and poor sleep overall.
The actual CPAP machine is the entire device as a whole. Ensure that there is no dust buildup and that it remains at the proper air pressure as prescribed by your respiratory therapist or sleep doctor.
Once a year, this part’s air pressure should be checked to make sure it’s still at the proper level. If it isn’t you could be at risk of improperly using your CPAP device. Each CPAP device is set up to the specific air pressure levels that are needed by the patient, and for that reason, it is critical that each CPAP device user annually checks their own device with their mask for any variance of pressure. It’s critical to test and clean your machine regularly.
To clean this device simply wipe it off with a damp cloth on a monthly basis.
To ensure that it is at the proper air pressure use a tool like this pressure gauge manometer.
Humidifier & Water Chamber
This is the part of the device that you fill with water to reduce dry mouth and to make the therapy more comfortable. For this reason, this is the part of your CPAP device that requires the most maintenance.
To clean your water chamber properly, you should clean it every day. You must rinse your water chamber with warm, soapy water. Just fill a sink with warm distilled water, add some soap, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Once clean, rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry. A rinse with white vinegar once per week is also an effective step in maintaining a clean water chamber. (Some users pay for a SoClean device to automatically clean their machine every day.)
This is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the part of your device that connects your machine to your mask.
Pro tip: keep this tubing away from small pets. They love these kinds of materials, and any small claw or bite marks can cause you to pay for entirely new tubing materials. Of course, a tubing cover could help.
To clean your CPAP tubing you must soak it in warm, soapy water on a weekly basis. Once it’s soaked for a few minutes, rinse it and let it hang to air dry.
CPAP Machine Filters
These filters are located in the back of your device, and they ensure that no major particulates in your air (i.e. pet dander, dust particles, etc.) are inhaled during sleep.
Some CPAP devices require a disposable filter while others need non-disposable filters. The primary difference between these two filter types is in the recommended usage.
If you have allergies, pets, or live in an especially dusty area, a disposable CPAP filter might be best for you. This option is often seen as the “easier way” to maintain your machine.
To clean your disposable CPAP filters simply purchase new filters, and replace your old filters on a monthly basis. If you smoke inside or if you have pets, you’ll need to replace your filters more often.
Non-disposable filters should be cleaned on a semi-regular basis, and need to be rinsed and washed in warm, soapy water.
To clean your non-disposable CPAP filters you should rinse your filters with water on a monthly basis and let them dry before you place it back in your machine. Replace these filters when they start to look torn or after 6 to 12 months.
This is the part of your CPAP device that is in direct contact with your face. It’s commonly made of silicone, and without proper care, can cause a small hole in the mask’s material. Without consistent and proper care, it can even have a negative impact on the CPAP user’s wallet.
Commonly criticized due to a lack of overall comfort, a CPAP mask can break down and are made much more uncomfortable from neglecting care. (If you want to read more about CPAP comfort, check out this article.)
To clean your CPAP mask wipe it down on a weekly basis with CPAP mask-specific cleaners or warm sudsy water.
To get the most out of your RemZzzs® liner you don’t need to clean it at all. Simply replace your RemZzzs® Mask Liner every day. Not only will it be more hygienic, but it will protect your mask cushion and make your experience much more comfortable. Do not wash your mask liner.
Replacing Your CPAP Device's Parts
Depending on your prescribed treatment, your device’s maintenance might require a unique routine. Here’s a collection of the different CPAP equipment and supplies that need to be regularly replaced:
- Nasal Mask – A nasal mask covers your entire nose while you, and should be replaced every 1-3 months.
- Nasal Pillows – These are similar to nasal masks, except they are silicone pillows that sit just inside the opening of your nostrils. These should be replaced if they are starting to deteriorate, or every 1-3 months.
- Full Face Masks – These masks cover your mouth and nose. Some have replaceable silicone cushions, while others need to have the entire mask replaced. Either type should be replaced if they are starting to deteriorate, or on a 1-3 month basis.
- CPAP Air Filter – Your device’s filters have the potential to wear out, deteriorate, or get clogged over time. To avoid blockages, mold, or harmful bacteria replace your filter every two weeks or monthly basis. (If you have a reusable air filter, it should be replaced every 6-12 months or when it starts to visibly wear out.)
- CPAP Device Tubing – Since this part’s material is thin and easily worn, you should regularly check for small holes or tears. If your tube is leaking, you could be getting less air pressure than you need. Replace your CPAP tubing every 3 months to avoid small tears and holes.
- Humidifier & Water Chamber – If you’re not cleaning your device regularly, it could become discolored, cracked, or cloudy. More importantly, if you’re not using distilled water, this chamber might need to be replaced earlier than usual. You should evaluate whether or not you need a new humidifier and water chamber every 6 months.
- CPAP Machine – You CPAP machine has a long lifecycle, provided that it is properly maintained. It should last for 5 years, but be sure to regularly test its air pressure for any pressure changes, and take it to your sleep doctor if you suspect it is not working.
- CPAP Device Straps & Headgear – This is the part of your device that holds it tightly to your face. Depending on the brand, it could be fastened with Velcro or with elastic bands. Replace these parts when they get worn or every 6-12 months.
Will Insurance Pay for My Replacement Parts?
A CPAP device is considered durable medical equipment (DME) and is covered by Medicare and many other insurance plans. All people with Medicare Part B are completely covered.
If your doctor or medical supplier is enrolled in Medicare as a participating provider, you will pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your device and it’s replacement parts, and the Part B deductible applies. Medicare pays for different kinds of DME in different ways. Depending on your needs:
- You may need to rent the device.
- You may need to buy the device and replacement parts.
- You may be able to choose whether to rent or buy.
Medicare will only cover your DME if your medical provider is enrolled in Medicare. Doctors and suppliers have to meet strict standards to enroll and stay enrolled in Medicare. If your doctors or suppliers aren’t enrolled, Medicare won’t pay their submitted claims.
Pro tip: Ask your provider if they participate in Medicare before you get DME. If suppliers are participating suppliers, they must accept assignment. If they are enrolled in Medicare but aren’t “participating,” they may choose not to accept assignment.
The best way to figure out exactly how much you’ll pay for your CPAP device’s maintenance parts is to talk to your doctor or insurance company.
Frequently Asked Questions about CPAP Device Maintenance
Caring for your device doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s a collection of essential things to understand about CPAP device maintenance:
- Always use distilled water to avoid mineral build-up and calcification on your device
- Distilled water is completely free of minerals and metals. Brita water filters are not suitable replacements for distilled water.
- If you don’t have or don’t use distilled water, clean your CPAP device and tubing once-a-week with a vinegar solution.
- Keep your device free of direct sunlight to avoid potential damage
- Do not use tap water because it can contain minerals and chemicals that can potentially damage the various parts of your device
- Some parts of your CPAP machine might be dishwasher safe, but consult with your machine’s manual before you try cleaning your device in a dishwasher
- Consider using a device like SoClean to kill germs and bacteria on your mask, device tubing, and water reservoir
- Make cleaning your device a part of your morning routine to give your device’s parts ample time to dry during the day
- NEVER use bleach to clean your device or its accessories
- Keep track of when you should order replacement parts for your device and its parts
- Don’t use facial moisturizers with your device (it can damage your mask), unless you use a RemZzzs® mask liner with your mask
- Don’t use a machine or dryer to clean your device’s straps and headgear
How RemZzzs® CPAP Mask Liners Fit In
CPAP and respiratory therapy haven't always been therapeutic for many people. Fortunately, that was before RemZzzs®.
Our patented design acts as a barrier between the skin of your face and the silicone of your mask’s cushion, virtually eliminating all of the most common problems associated with wearing a CPAP mask. Your CPAP mask can last longer, and best of all, it’s very comfortable!
Just like cleaning your device can lead to more benefits from CPAP therapy in the long run, RemZzzs CPAP Mask liners can help you sleep better with your CPAP device.
Cleaning your CPAP device and caring for its many parts is not something to put off. Proper care and maintenance ensures it is working properly and that no issues are getting in the way of your CPAP therapy. It can even help you avoid long-term costs on replacement parts.
RemZzzs CPAP Mask Liners can help you avoid having another part to clean, and it can even extend the overall life of your mask. Best of all, it helps you get the absolute most out of your CPAP therapy.