Maintain your equipment to make it last longer
To get the most out of your equipment, let’s start with what not to do. Every now and then, we hear about homegrown solutions and shortcuts like tossing your mask and other supplies into the dishwasher for cleaning. Do not try this at home! That’s a surefire way to melt a mask.
Leave repairs to trained professionals. If your machine is making unusual noises, is louder than it used to be, or simply isn’t working, do not attempt to dissemble. No matter how handy you are, this task is best left to those who are familiar with the manufacturer instructions. If your machine is more than 3 to 5 years old, it may be time for a replacement. This is the general life expectancy of most PAP devices.
- Replace filters. Just like in your car or your HVAC at home, this inexpensive but important step keeps everything clean and working properly. Clogged or dirty filters will impact performance. For most devices, replace disposable paper filters every month, and non-disposable filters every 3 to 6 months. Some climates need to be replaced slightly more often, especially during allergy season. Check the filter regularly to make sure it is holding up well.
- Follow the recommended daily and weekly cleaning for mask, headgear, and tubing. Hygiene is important to protect your skin, but also to protect the plastics in your equipment which break down when continuously exposed to the oils in your skin.
- Use fresh, distilled water in your humidifier, and clean it regularly. Empty the humidifier before moving your device; exposing the machine to liquid could destroy it.
- Leave the airhole uncovered. Many machines have a small hole for air to be released when you exhale, or for intake of air. It is important not to block this.
Finally, use the right equipment. We once encountered a gentleman who attempted to use a hose from his fish tank in place of his tubing. The mask had so much duct tape that it had to be replaced, not to mention the smell.