Patient Blogs | Sleep Disorders
CPAP Machine Maintenance Tips I Use
photo of hand holding sleep apnea mask

Your CPAP machine is critical to your sleep apnea therapy. There are a lot of machines on the market, and they all function the same. You get the airflow you need at night to reduce sleep apnea symptoms and to feel rested in the morning. Here’s how to make the most out of your machine.

Change the Filter

Make sure you change the filter periodically. The machine should give you a warning when the filter needs to be changed. It’s a good idea to make the change once a month or when it looks dirty.

Ask your sleep provider or refer to your manual about how to change the filter. On most machines, it’s a simple process. Your provider will more than likely provide you with free filters when you get your machine. I get new ones each year for a modest fee when I renew my mask and hoses.

Check the Tank for Leaks

The water tank is a critical part of your machine but can be one of the most problematic. The plastic and seal for many of these units aren’t the best, and they can wear down over time and cause a leak.

I inspect my water tank almost daily to ensure that the seal is still good and that there’s no chance for a leak. I’ve had a water leak before, and this can leave quite a mess, so it’s a good idea to inspect the seal. Drops of water around the tank are a clear indication that it needs to be replaced.

Inspect the Machine Hose

Make sure you inspect your machine hose on a periodic basis. This can develop leaks just like the water tank. A loud hissing sound or poor airflow can be a sign that the hose needs to be replaced.

Machine Cleaning

The machine doesn’t need to be cleaned that often but should still be wiped down every so often. The area where the water tank sits can develop grime buildup, so it should be cleaned. Talk to your provider about cleaners you should use on the machine, so you don’t damage it.

Water Leaks

Your machine should withstand a water tank leak. My machine survived the recent failure of my water tank. One thing you can do is put a plastic sheet under the machine to protect your dresser from potential water leaks.

If you knock the machine on the floor at night, you may spill water into it. If this happens, allow it to dry out for a day, and it should be fine. This has happened to me twice, but the machine should still work unless the fall is severe. Talk to your provider if you notice any serious malfunction.

Red Display Face

The red frown face on the display is an indication from your CPAP machine that there’s a leak somewhere. Usually, this leak is from the mask and the mask seal. Inspect the tightness of the mask, and if the mask is old, replace it as the seal may have already worn out.

Take care of your CPAP machine and you’ll get long use out of it. My machine has been working without major issues for 5 years. Talk to your provider if you notice any major malfunction, so the machine can be serviced.




Photo Credit: Chalermpon Poungpeth / EyeEm via Getty Images

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Brian Lamacraft

Brian Lamacraft

Diagnosed since 2017

Brian Lamacraft has lived with sleep apnea for over 4 years. He is a full-time writer and guitar player. He spends his spare time writing music, going to the Royal Canadian Legion, and having fun camping trips with close friends. He lives in Powell River, Canada, with his lovely wife. Reach him at his website Lamacraft Writing Services or LinkedIn.

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