Sleep Apnea

Here's how often you should be replacing your CPAP gear

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You should all know by now how important it is to clean your CPAP gear, but, after a while, cleaning only goes so far. For comfortable and effective CPAP therapy in the long term, you also need to regularly inspect your gear and replace its parts as needed.

Here some simple guidelines to help you take stock of your equipment and know when to replace parts before they negatively affect your therapy and your sleep.

Your CPAP mask


Let’s start with your mask as it’s arguably the most important piece of equipment in any CPAP setup. Do you remember how long you’ve had your mask? Because just like other regularly used health products, such as a toothbrush or shaver, your mask becomes less effective and unhygienic to use over time.

The best way to know when it’s time for a part to be replaced is to make it a habit of inspecting your mask regularly for wear and tear. Some parts will wear out sooner than you think!

Mask cushions, for instance, rest against your face every night and can build up quickly with dirt, oil and bacteria. Without proper care, they can deteriorate leading to leaks and discomfort – even skin irritation. 

How often you replace your mask cushion depends on the kind you have. Silicone cushions are designed to be replaced every 6 months, whereas memory foam cushions are designed to be replaced monthly. 

Mask frames are more durable than mask cushions and their lifespan will depend on well you look after them. If they ever get damaged, cracked or discoloured, you should replace them immediately.

Mask headgear will lose elasticity and become stretched out over time, leading to a bad mask fit. One sure sign is when you’re starting to overtighten your headgear to achieve a secure seal.

We suggest you replace headgear every 8 months or so to ensure your mask is always sealing as secure as it can.

Your CPAP device


Fortunately, we can expect CPAP devices to last much longer than CPAP masks – especially if you keep them well serviced. With that said, we recommend replacing them every 5 years or so to ensure you’re getting the latest technology and comfort features.

As for specific device parts, you should change them following a schedule as some may not look worn even when they are due for replacement. Just like replacing the oil and filter in your car, doing this will help your device last even longer.

Air filters will collect dirt and dust with regular use, which can lead to blockages, poor hygiene and even contribute to allergies if not changed out as needed. While we recommend they are replaced every 6 months, users in dusty environments should inspect them often to determine their cleanliness. 

Air tubing can sometimes get damaged with small holes or tears, leading to air leaks and less than effective therapy. Any tubing that is leaking air should be replaced immediately. 

Humidification tubs or water chambers can become damaged over time or build up with bacteria if not cleaned regularly. You can improve the longevity the tubs by using distilled or filtered water to avoid the mineral deposits that tap water leaves behind. As a general rule, you should think about replacing them every 6 months.

Does all this CPAP equipment housekeeping seem daunting? An easy way to keep on top of it is to simply inspect your mask every time you’re cleaning it and to check your device every time you change your bedding or sheets.

If you don’t have the time or you’re unsure of what to look out for, you’re always welcome to take it into a ResMed store or authorised dealer who will be happy to provide a free equipment check-up.

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Andrew Mun

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