PAP machines are the best solution for obstructive breathing disorders, like sleep apnea. These devices can help patients regain their sleep by providing breathing assistance throughout the night. However, all of the PAP devices use filters to filter the air out and prevent the contaminated air from entering your airway system and lungs. Therefore, filter maintenance and replacement are essential for not only keeping the air clean but also to keep your PAP machine’s performance at its best.
CPAP Filters: 7 Things To Know Before Buying
So, in the following paragraphs, we’ll answer some of the most frequent questions patients have when it comes to CPAP filters. We’ll talk about types of filters, their maintenance, and replacement rules. So, let’s get started!
1. What Are CPAP Filters And What Is Their Function?
CPAP filters are one of the essential parts of CPAP equipment. These filters ensure that the air your receive during therapy is clean and bacteria-free. The filters improve the quality and effectiveness of the CPAP therapy by removing mold, dust, microorganisms, and other types of impurities that you would otherwise breathe in if it wasn’t for the filters. There are several types of CPAP filters, but more on that in the following paragraphs.
2. What Types Of CPAP Filters Are There?
Each CPAP machine requires a different type or size of a filter. The filters also tend to look completely different, which makes it easy to categorize them. Here are the main types of CPAP filters you’ll use with your CPAP machine;
- Disposable filters – disposable, or ultra-fine filters are made from a paper-like material. They are not reusable, which means they need to be frequently changed to keep the air clean. The paper-like material of the filter is electrostatically charged, which enables it to attracts particles in the air and prevent them from going into the CPAP tube. Disposable filters stand for the easiest maintenance option when it comes to cleaning of your CPAP machine.
- Reusable filters – non-disposable or reusable filters are made of foam and are designed to be reused. They ultimately require more maintenance and more frequent washing and cleaning. Reusable filters are best for people who suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms or pet allergy, alongside sleep apnea. The reason for this lies in the fact that reusable filters are pollen filters, and they can filter out particles like pollen, dirt, pet hair, etc.
- Specialized CPAP filters – these filters are made especially for certain CPAP machines. For example, hypo-allergenic filters are made for ResMed S9 line devices and are unique to them. The filters are made from two different materials, for an even better filtering efficiency. One side of the filter catches large particles, like hair and pollen, while the other side catches smaller particles, like bacteria.
3. What Are In-Line Outlet Bacteria CPAP Filters?
Bacteria filters are fine filters that can filter out bacteria, as the name indicates. These filters are clinically indicated when more than one person uses the same CPAP or any PAP device. Nevertheless, many people tend to opt for bacteria filters for their own home devices, because they seem to be effective in reducing sinus infections and similar nasal problems.
These filters are housed in a plastic frame and are placed at the CPAP air outlet. They can be used with humidifiers as well, but they need to be removed and air-dried after every therapy session. The bacteria filters are disposable and should be replaced as soon as they start becoming dirty and discolored. These filters are not covered by insurance and they usually cost around $5 each.
4. How Often Should You Replace Or Clean CPAP Filters?
To keep the air you receive during therapy clean and germ-free, you need to take care of your CPAP filter. Here’s how often should you replace each particular filter;
- Disposable filters – they should be replaced as soon as they start changing colors, or becoming dirty. If a disposable filter also has visible residue on it, you should change it immediately. Other than that, a regular disposable filter should be replaced once every 3 or 4 weeks; if you live in a dusty location, you may want to replace it even more frequently, every 2 or 3 weeks.
- Reusable filters – these filters do not require frequent replacement, but most certainly require regular cleaning and washing. A reusable CPAP filter should be cleaned every month or so, and if you don’t feel like cleaning it, then you should replace it every month or two (up to 3 months max). You may even need to clean it more frequently if you live in a dusty location, or you have pets.
5. How Can I Replace A CPAP Filter?
If you’re only starting to use your CPAP device, and you want to change the filter for the first time, here’s how you can do it;
- Find the air intake area in the back of the device
- There should be a filter hole with a filter in it; when you find it, remove the filter slowly
- Insert a new filter into the hole; some filters may require you to insert the paper and then the foam part
- If the filter has a mesh side, then that side should be facing into the device, and the other, softer side should be facing out
- If you can’t locate the filter in your CPAP device, make sure to contact a CPAP or medical equipment provider for help or more detailed instructions
Note: some CPAP machines can house both the disposable and the reusable filter. In that case, the disposable or paper-material filter should be placed first, followed by the reusable filter. This way you will increase the filtering efficiency of the filters, as one will catch larger particles, while the other will prevent the finer particles from entering the tube.
6. How Much Do CPAP Filters Cost?
Usually, CPAP filters, especially the disposable ones are covered by many insurances that follow Medicare replacement guidelines. The insurances generally cover the replacement of filters; one filter every two weeks (6 filters per 90 day-supply shipments). However, if you want to buy the filters directly, here’s how much they’ll cost you;
- Disposable filters – these filters can cost between $2 and $12. The price depends on the type of CPAP device that you use.
- Reusable filters – these filters are only covered by some insurance companies. The cash rate for reusable filters is between $6 and $10. The price also depends on the type of CPAP device that you use.
7. What Are The Best CPAP Filters?
Best Disposable Filters
- DreamStation CPAP Machine Disposable Fine Filters – this is a pack of 6 generic, fine filters designed to be used with DreamStation CPAP machines. These filters should be replaced every 30 days, or earlier if there are signs of dirt and damage. They cannot be washed.
- AirMini Travel CPAP Machine Disposable Fine Filters – this is a pack of 2 generic, fine filters designed to be used with the AirMini Travel CPAP machines. The filters are designed to last 6 months each but should be replaced earlier if there are signs of dirt, discoloration, and damage. The filters cannot be washed.
- Respironics M Series CPAP Machine Disposable Fine Filters – this is a pack of 6 white fine filters designed to be used with the Respironics M Series CPAP machines. The filters feature a tab, that should face outward when placed into the machine, for easy removal of the filter later. The filters should be replaced once every 30 days, or earlier if dirty and damaged. They cannot be washed.
Best Reusable Filters
- DreamStation CPAP Machine Reusable Filters – this is a pack of 2 reusable filters, designed to be used with the DreamStation machines. The filters should be washed at least once every week. You can use these reusable filters together with disposable ones, to increase the filtration efficiency.
- Respironics CPAP Machine Reusable Foam Filters – this is a pack of 2 reusable foam filters designed to be used with Respironics CPAP and BiPAP machines. These filters can be used with disposable filters; the foam filter should go over the fine filter. The foam filters should be rinsed at least once a week and replaced once every 3 months.
- Puritan Bennett CPAP and BiLevel Machine Reusable Foam Filters – this is a pack of 2 reusable foam filters, designed to be used with the Puritan Bennett CPAP or BiLevel machines. They can be used with disposable filters as well and should be washed at least once every week.
We hope that this article has answered all the questions and concerns you had about CPAP filters. For more information, contact a respective medical equipment supplier, and ask about filters for your particular CPAP device. Again; if you experience harder breathing, frequent sinus, and throat infections, or your machine becomes louder, you should replace or wash your filter. Make sure to take care of your CPAP equipment, because only then will it function properly and provide the best therapy results.Also Read: