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Cleaning your CPAP filters is critical to CPAP therapy success

You've taken the road to good sleep health by wearing your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or other sleep apnea machine. Congratulations! Like new air, oil or gas filters for your car, with every good piece of machinery comes a bit of routine maintenance or parts that eventually need to be replaced.

Considering the typical lifespan of a CPAP machine is 5-7 years, being diligent about changing its filters will go a long way in keeping it running well to treat your sleep disorder.Have you ever seen anyone change an air conditioner filter? The filter is covered with grime and looks disgusting.  Who wants to breathe THAT into their lungs? This is one of the reasons why we recommend against buying a used CPAP machine, especially at a yard sale... You won't have any idea what toxic materials you might be inhering.

Similarly, if you use a machine for sleep apnea that uses any form of positive airway pressure (PAP), filters should be changed as per manufacturer specifications. 

Some filters are disposable,  while others are washable. Either filter helps keep dust and debris—including the airborne matter caused by second-hand smokefrom entering and ruining the CPAP unit.  

Troubleshooting CPAP

If insufficient air is being delivered by your machine, one problem could be that the filter may be dirty and needs to be changed. This blockage could also damage your machine.  Considering it could extend the life of a CPAP machine, checking and changing the filter when appropriate is a best practice.

In fact, the best durable medical equipment (DME) providers will help you arrange a maintenance schedule to take the guesswork out of changing filters. 

PAP: CPAP, BiPAP, APAP

CPAP, bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), and automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) all are under the PAP classification. Different units are prescribed for the various sleep disorders. For the purpose of this article, we will discuss the details of replacing air filters for three units by RESMEDthe S8, the S9, and Airsense 10. 

RESMED S8

To replace the air filter in the RESMED S8, first unplug the unit, then remove the air filter cover at the back. 
Now the old air filter should be removed and discarded. 

This is actually a very good time to compare the dirty filter to the new one. By remembering when you first started using the machine, comparing the old to the new will give you some idea of a filter-changing  time frame for your next filter replacement.

The manufacturer suggests Inspecting the air filter every month to check if it is blocked by dirt or contains holes. With normal use of an S8, the air filter needs to be replaced every six months (or more often if your device is in a dusty environment).

After the last step, insert a new filter with the blue tinted side facing out from the device. The air filter cover can now be replaced. 

Resmed warns that the air filter for the S8 should not be washed. It is not washable or reusable. The air filter cover protects the device in the event of accidental liquid spillage. It is recommended that the air filter and air filter cover are fitted at all times.  

RESMED S9

The Resmed S9’s hypoallergenic air filter is made of acrylic and polypropylene fibers in a polypropylene carrier. This is ideal for those that are sensitive to other materials. The S9’s standard air filter is made of polyester non-woven fiber.

Resmed warns that the air filter for the S9 should not be washed. It is not washable or reusable. The air filter cover protects the device in the event of accidental liquid spillage. It is recommended that the air filter and air filter cover are fitted at all times.

The S9 is capable of letting you know when there is a problem with the filter. The unit displays an error message stating, “Air filter is blocked.” The message instructs the user to replace their air filter by first disconnecting the power cord and then reconnecting it to restart the device. 

RESMED Airsense 10

According to the manufacturer, you should regularly check the water tub, air tubing and the air filter for any damage. Check the air tubing and replace it if there are any holes, tears or cracks. Check the air filter and replace it at least every six months. Replace it more often if there are any holes or blockages by dirt or dust. 

RESMED_AIRSENSE_10 filter cleaning instructions

Allergies and CPAP: How to limit the amount of dust in the air?

If your environment is conducive to high amounts of dust, there are high-functioning and filtering vacuum cleaners on the market. Many people bothered by allergies, who live in a somewhat dusty environment (like Kansas!) find using CPAP during allergy season helps them improve their allergy symptoms. 

Another simple thing that you can do to help extend your CPAP filters is to cover your unit when not in use. It could be something as simple as a cloth dinner napkin, a pillow case, or a hand towel.

How do house plants help my CPAP?

Not only do indoor plants infuse oxygen into the air, they also delete carbon dioxide, and do a great job filtering out toxins, vapors, and chemicals flying about in your home.

Foliage cleans the air and removes chemicals toxins. These toxins can some from indoor house paint, chemicals and plastics. 

Dust being a major problem for having to change CPAP filters—sometimes even more often than manufacturers’ recommendations—plants can serve as an effective assistant. Plants have a good amount of surface area which assists in filtering dust out and improving the room’s air quality.  

How often does insurance pay for a new CPAP filter?

The manufacturer of these units suggests the filters be changed once per month. Most insurance companies allow for a new filter every month, however, you should check with your insurance provider regarding your CPAP filter replacement schedule.

 The DME staff at Knight Time Medical are available to answer any questions you may have regarding the changing of air filters for your PAP unit.

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