I got the CPAP…..Now What?!?!

  • By Clay Rollyson
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How do I maintain my CPAP Machine?

Starting CPAP can be a very daunting task in itself. Then you find that not only did you have to go through all the testing and the visit to the Dr, you’ve got to maintain this thing and all the supplies to boot. So it leaves you asking…..what, when and how.
There are a few main parts and pieces that require regular maintenance and replacement. A few of them are so important that it can affect your health. Those parts include: Mask Parts, CPAP Filter(s), Tubing, and your Humidifier Chamber. So lets break them down.

Mask Parts: Your Mask Consists of 3 main pieces. Your Frame, Headgear, and Seal. While all of these are important to keep up with the Mask Seal has to be the most important. The seal is the Silicon or Fabric liner that rests against your face or your nose which creates the airtight seal allowing the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to do its job. Without a proper seal your therapy can be off tremendously. On many CPAP Machines a large leak can cause the CPAP pressure to rise, which leads to more leak, which leads to higher pressure again, which leads to you ripping your mask off. To keep your seal working properly it must be cleaned regularly and replaced in a timely manner. Regular cleaning includes daily cleaning. Mask wipes can make that much easier. In addition most manufacturers recommend changing your seal at least once per month. This keeps the entire operation working properly. Without a good seal, you might not be getting the therapy you require. The Frame of the CPAP Mask is what the seal attaches to. Many recommend changing that every 3 months, but we find that as long as it is working, changing the seal may be just fine. The headgear is also very important, but it wears in a much more gradual fashion. Most people get 6-12 months out of their headgear. Both the Headgear and the Frame should be cleaned weekly to ensure proper and sanitary operation.

Mask Wipes

Tubing: Your CPAP Tubing can be overlooked very easily, but it shouldn’t be. Not only can it collect bacteria, mold, and mildew like any other part, but you can’t see it very easily. It is recommended that the Tubing be cleaned at least once per week. A great way to do that is to submerge it in a vinegar and water mix, slosh the mixture around in the tube and rinse thoroughly. You may also want to consider a Tube Brush or a Cleaning System like SoClean or VirtuClean.

VirtuClean System

CPAP Filters: The filter in you CPAP is no different than the filter in your AC system, and it is the number one reason why CPAPs break down. The CPAP has to breathe so that you can breathe. Check the filter once per week and wash any filter that is washable. If you see any discoloration on a disposable filter it is time to toss it and replace it. Never let you filter go more than 2-4 weeks.
SoClean System

Humidifier Chamber: I have had nightmares about the things I have seen growing in CPAP Humidifier Chambers. Proper use of the humidifier chamber should include emptying any excess water every morning, and sterilization once per week. If you are using distilled water in your chamber (which you should be) it is a bacteria, mold, and mildew magnet. There are no chemicals or minerals in distilled water to fight these things. So don’t give them a fighting chance. Empty and refill daily. Sterilize once per week. You can use a mix of vinegar and water as well as the SoClean or the VirtuClean to do this as well.

Overall keeping up with your CPAP should be the equivalent of brushing you teeth or showering as you move forward. Failing to keep these parts clean can result in improper operation or even sickness. As always call, email or chat us to learn more.