How Often Should You Replace Your CPAP Machine?

We are all aware that CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is the gold standard of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment. This technology will supply a steady source of air during sleep. 

However, even the most durable systems will suffer from wear and tear over time. As these machines are an investment, it is important to understand when it may be more prudent to purchase a replacement. 

Let's take an in-depth look at what the industry experts have to say.

The Basics: General Replacement Time Frames

Most professionals agree that the average CPAP machine should be replaced every five years. Having said this, some models may require more frequent upgrades. Here are a handful of examples:

  • The Philips Respironics DreamStation Auto: 5 years
  • The ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet: 5 years
  • The ResMed AirMini: 3 years
  • AirSense 11: __

There may still be instances when your machine seems to be working quite well and has not experienced any faults. Even in these cases, it is still wise to consider an upgrade. This is due to the fact that the technology is continuing to evolve. You can therefore take advantage of the latest innovations. Also, most insurance companies no longer replace CPAPs after 5 years; they only replace if it’s broken or malfunctioning.

Signs that a Replacement is in Order

Let’s discuss the signs that could indicate a less-than-functional CPAP. There are a handful of symptoms to mention here including:

  • The machine is making a great deal of noise, particularly when you’re inhaling.
  • There are cracks in the tubing or the mask.
  • The water in the humidifier takes longer to evaporate (this could indicate a faulty heating element).
  • You feel tired even after using your CPAP
  • You awake in the morning with a dry mouth.

Of course, it is first important to examine the unit and its accessories for any minor faults that might not warrant an entire replacement. This is even more relevant if the machine is relatively new. This also brings us to the next main section.

How Frequently Should CPAP Accessories be Replaced?

In addition to the machine itself, always keep a close eye on the condition of relevant accessories such as:

  • Face masks
  • Cushions or pillows
  • Chin straps
  • Built-in filters
  • Water chamber (if it is removable)
  • Tubing

It only stands to reason that some of these elements need to be replaced more frequently than others. 

For example, plastic tubing may become inflexible and suffer from cracks. Face or chin straps can eventually break or lose their elasticity. 

Filters will likewise need to be changed on a somewhat regular basis, perhaps every month. This helps to avoid an accumulation of bacteria that would otherwise negatively impact the performance of the CPAP machine.

The Benefits of Replacing Your Machine

The science behind obstructive sleep apnea has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Newer machines are more efficient than ever before and therefore, you can enjoy a solid night of rest. 

While overall efficiency is an important concern, there are many other reasons why replacing your unit when required is an excellent strategy. 

For example, the air pumps fitted in modern machines are extremely quiet when compared to older models. This is critical in terms of your sleep patterns as well as ensuring that others are not disturbed. 

Many contemporary machines have been outfitted with an "auto ramp" feature. This adjusts the air pressure in accordance with your breathing habits. It has been shown that lower pressures will help individuals fall asleep faster. The pressure will then be automatically raised throughout the overnight hours. 

Newer units offer humidifiers that are much smaller than in the past. This has likewise decreased the physical footprint of the machine itself. Smaller dimensions are also easier to clean and maintain; helping to extend their overall lifespan. 

Another innovation that has come to light in recent times involves the ability to record your sleep data. This information can then be passed on to a specialist in order to determine if the CPAP is functioning as it should be. 

Finally, most high-quality machines provide a host of customisation options (such as adjusting temperature, humidity and air pressure). You can therefore enjoy a personalized sense of responsiveness that was simply impossible to achieve in the past.

A Bit of Proactivity Goes a Long Way

Thanks to modern technology, there is no reason why individuals should be forced to endure the effects of obstructive sleep apnea. 

Cutting-edge CPAP machines provide a plethora of benefits and there are a number of solutions at your disposal. It is nonetheless important to remember that these units will need to be replaced once they have reached the end of their functional lifespan. 

If you are uncertain as to whether yours is operating as it should, make it a point to contact the manufacturer or to speak with a sleep specialist. You will be provided with the insight required to make an informed decision at the appropriate time.