When to replace CPAP supplies
To get the most out of your CPAP supplies, using it is only half the battle. The other half is making sure you inspect and replace your supplies as often as needed to maximize seal, comfort and health benefits.
We all know that we need to replace our toothbrush every 3–4 months; if we don’t, the bristles wear down, fall out and become much less effective in cleaning our teeth. Similar things happen to our sleep apnea equipment over time. For instance, mask cushions collect dirt, oil and bacteria from our faces. These can create odors, deposit back onto our faces while we sleep, affect how well the mask seals, and also cause skin irritation. And of course CPAP machine filters need to be changed out for the same reasons that your car and vacuum filters do; build-up over time makes them less effective and even contribute to nasal symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.
The great news is: Medicare and most private insurers cover scheduled replacements of all mask parts and other supplies (including CPAP machines, but we’ll talk about those in an upcoming blog post). Ask your insurance provider how often it will cover the replacement of each part. Your equipment supplier can answer any questions about this and even help you fill out and process any necessary forms. Based on Medicare coverage, we suggest that you replace:
- Mask cushions and/or nasal pillows
- CPAP machine filters
Every 3 months
- Mask frame (not including the headgear)
- CPAP tubing
Every 6 months
- Mask headgear
- Chin strap (if applicable)
- Humidifier water tub
Keep it clean
Cleaning your equipment as recommended is also key to ensuring that it works as well as possible for as long as you need it to last. Your mask’s user guide will tell you exactly when and how to clean each part.