Changing the filters on your CPAP or BIPAP machine is very important for many reasons. Old and dirty filters makes them less effective and may even contribute to symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Filters can easily catch the bacteria in the air to help keep you healthy!
These bacteria particles can infiltrate your respiratory system if the filters are full of dust soiled and dirty. CPAP filters are the components of a CPAP and BiPAP device that prevent a person from inhaling harmful particles that may be present in their sleep environment.
There are three types of CPAP filters, each designed to target different particles. Knowing about CPAP filters can help you protect your health and maintain your CPAP machine. We cover the different types of CPAP filters, their replacement schedules, and strategies for selecting the right models.
What Is the Role of CPAP Filters?
Filters play an important role in protecting CPAP and BiPAP user’s health. These filters allow a person to inhale clean air through the machine, which defends against lung irritation and limits exposure to allergens. A dirty filter will make the machines motor work harder This can cause a reduced airflow and increase the wear and tear on your machine.
CPAP & BiPAP machines draw air from the sleep environment.This room air may contain: pet hair and dander,pollen, dust and dirt,smoke or mold.The filters in the machine are designed to remove these unwanted particles from the air before reaching the CPAP mask. Some filters are even designed to protect users from inhaling bacteria and viruses such as the flu and the common cold.
Types of CPAP Filters
CPAP machines may contain both a reusable and a disposable filter, although many machine models require just one type. These filters are often located at the back or on the side of a CPAP machine and may be layered so that air first passes through the reusable filter and then the disposable filter.
Reusable (Non-Disposable) Filters
Reusable filters, also sometimes called non-disposable filters, are designed to be used many times before disposal and replacement. These small, rectangular filters are made of foam. They trap large particles, such as pollen and dust, as air passes through them.
There are several recommendations regarding the care and cleaning of reusable filters, which should take place once a week.
Regularly cleaning your reusable filter can help it last longer and work as intended. Some reusable filters may have additional or different care instructions, so make sure to review the manufacturer's directions before cleaning your reusable filter.
Disposable or fine filters are designed to capture small particles, such as tobacco smoke. They are usually made with fine mesh paper. As their name suggests, disposable filters must be replaced regularly. They cannot be washed, and over time they become discolored. When this happens, it’s time to change the filter.
Care for disposable filters is straightforward: Change the filter every 30 days or as soon as the paper has become discolored. As with reusable filters, make sure to unplug your CPAP machine before changing the filter.
We suggest you keep a calendar by your CPAP machine and mark the dates you need to clean or replace your CPAP filters. You can also program your machine to remind you when they need to be changed. Remember, the white CPAP filters are disposable and should be replaced monthly or sooner as needed. The black CPAP filters are washable and should be washed each week and replaced every six months.
What Causes CPAP Filter to Turn Black?
If you never change your CPAP filter, the particles in the air will begin to accumulate on the filter, turning it black. Poor indoor air quality may also be affecting the filter, including airborne particles from cigarette smoke and candles.
How Often Should You Change Filter?
Depending on how often the machine is used, filters generally should be replaced monthly or sooner if you live in a smoking environment or have pets. You can program the machine to flash a reminder on the screen.