How Often Should I Be Changing My CPAP Filter?

How Often Should I Be Changing My CPAP Filter?

If you have a CPAP machine, you might be wondering how often you really need to change your CPAP filter. Doing so and taking proper care of your machine is crucial to ensure it’s working at maximum capacity and keeping the air you breathe in fresh.

What Is a CPAP Machine?

A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, or CPAP machine, is a small device that provides you with a constant stream of air pressure, a mask or nose piece, and a hose. This type of machine is used as a common treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Many CPAP masks are adjustable to help ensure proper fit and comfort.

What Are CPAP Filters?

CPAP filters play a crucial role in CPAP machines working properly. These machines generally last five to seven years, but changing the filter inside regularly can maximize your machine’s lifespan. Such filters keep the air you’re breathing in clean, much like an air conditioner filter, and they help keep debris and dust from entering (and potentially ruining) your CPAP device.

Different types of CPAP filters are available, including those that are washable and those you dispose of. Of the disposable options, you can choose from standard disposable filters, hypoallergenic filters, and foam filters.

How Often Should You Change Your Filter?

You’re probably wondering how often your CPAP filter should be changed to keep the air you’re breathing in as fresh as possible. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions, as each machine is different.

Many CPAP manufacturers recommend changing CPAP filters once per month. Sleep Solutions suggests inspecting the filters every month to check for holes and blockages from dirt, and that air filters should be replaced at least every six months. If your machine is being used in a dusty environment, you may have to replace it much more often, which is why monthly filter inspections are so important.

How to Change CPAP Filters 

removing white air filter from cpap main unit

The type of CPAP machine you own determines how to go about changing your filter. Always follow manufacturer instructions. Sleep Solutions recommends the following filter-changing regimens, which vary by machine.

If you own a ResMed S8 machine, unplug your machine and remove the back filter cover. Take out the old filter and discard it. Then, place your new filter (with the blue side facing outward) into your machine and put the air filter cover back on. Don’t wash air filters or reuse them for S8 devices.

If you own a ResMed S9, again, do not wash or reuse the filters. This type of machine lets you know if there are any issues with your filter, as you’ll see an error message telling you the filter is blocked and needs to be replaced. First unplug the power cord, replace the filter, and reconnect the S9 device.

For a ResMed Airsense 10 machine, check the filter monthly and replace it at least every six months. Begin by opening the filter cover and removing the old filter. Place a new filter in the filter cover, and close it back up.

What Happens if I Don’t Change Filters?

Neglecting to change CPAP filters means a shorter lifespan for your CPAP machine. Leaving dirty filters in your device means the air you’re breathing won’t be as clean as it should be.

Extending the Life of Filters

To extend the life of your filter (and CPAP machine), try covering the machine when it’s not in use to help steer clear of excess dust and other debris. Sleep Solutions suggests indoor house plants as another way to clean indoor air, reduce the burden of your filter, and extend your filter’s lifespan.

Cost of Filters

When in doubt, throw your CPAP filter out, as the cost of replacing it is more than reasonable. Foam, hypoallergenic, and standard disposable CPAP filters each cost you about $1.40—so you won’t break the bank on a monthly basis. The cost of a new CPAP machine, however, will set you back several hundred dollars—so it’s worth taking extra precautions to change filters regularly and maximize your CPAP machine’s shelf life.

What About Other CPAP Equipment?

cpap mask tubing

You may not have to replace CPAP machines for five to seven years after purchasing them. However, along with replacing filters every six months (or once monthly if needed), there are other CPAP parts you should replace before the life of your machine has ended.

As a general rule, replace the following within recommended time frames: tubing every three months, headgear and chinstraps every six months, masks every three months, and face cushions once a month.

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  • Becky McDowell
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