CPAP device parts and maintenance
Every CPAP machine has 3 main parts: a motor (the machine itself), a hose, and a mask. And also other parts such as air filter(s), humidifier, mask straps, tube connectors…
The machine itself (the motor and CPU) is the heart and brain of the CPAP device. It requires little to no maintenance. Basically, besides cleaning the dust off and replacing the air filter inside, there is not much you can or should do around it. It comes with a 2-5 years warranty and it is expected to work flawlessly for at least that amount of time.
As mentioned above, air filters are one of the parts of the CPAP machine, and it is an important part! CPAP machine uses room air, so to remove potentially harmful micro contaminants, the air is filtered through an air filter (or in some cases filters). The air filter is usually made of paper or paper-like material, foam, or woven synthetic material, which has the capability of stopping micro or larger contaminants (dust, pet hair, dander, pollen…). Their life span varies and it goes from around 1 month to up to 6 months, and the air filter must be replaced and/or washed regularly (as suggested by the manufacturer)!
CPAP hose/tubing and related CPAP Hose Connector (CPAP Tubing Connectors) are used to transfer the air from the CPAP machine to the face mask. Hoses come with connectors on the end and those connectors can be made from rubber or a hard connection which is known as a stability end. Almost all hoses and connectors are standardized and will fit 99% of the standard and special masks and CPAP machines.
CPAP hoses and connectors are considered expendable parts that need to be replaced occasionally, usually every 6 months or so (up to a year), or as suggested by the manufacturer.
Although mainly standardized, there are differences in face mask designs and manufacturers’ design preferences. There are 3 main types of CPAP Machine Masks: full face mask, nasal mask, and nasal pillow mask. When a mask is overused it will leak air and thus it will make the therapy itself useless. All masks are should be replaced in 3 to 6 months, while mask cushions at least once a month. Headgear parts (straps, chin support…) are replaced when you feel they are worn out, which is usually around once a year (this depends greatly on the manufacturer i.e. quality). Keep in mind that over-tightening mask straps will wear them faster.
The humidification chamber (humidifier), should be replaced every 6 months. It collects remaining minerals from water used in it and bacteria (if not cleaned regularly. Always try to use distilled water in your humidifier. Regular tap water (or filtered water if it's not a high-performance filter) can damage the components of your CPAP machine.