Whether you’re choosing your first CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine or searching for a replacement CPAP machine, there are several different factors to consider. What different types of sleep apnea machines are available to me? What are the best CPAP machines on the market? How do I decide which brand or model of CPAP machine is right for me?

Another question often asked of us at SleepEh.ca is: what is the average lifespan of a CPAP machine? As a sleep apnea patient, you know your CPAP machine is an integral part of your treatment. Understanding what to expect in terms of your CPAP machine’s lifespan — and what you can do to keep your CPAP machine functioning properly throughout that time — is also important.

In this post, we’ll discuss that and other questions you may have about the longevity and maintenance of your CPAP machine.

What is the average lifespan of a CPAP machine?

The majority of CPAP machines available to sleep apnea patients today have an average lifespan of five years. As such, most insurers will cover the cost of replacing your CPAP machine every five years.

Please note that this lifespan applies only to the device itself. The other parts of your CPAP machine should be replaced as per the manufacturer’s instructions. A general guide to maintaining your CPAP machine and prolonging its lifespan is as follows:

  • Replace your complete mask system (which includes a mask frame, cushion, headgear, and elbow or short tube) every six months to keep sleep apnea therapy effective and hygienic
  • Replace silicone mask cushions (full face, nasal, and nasal pillows) every three months
  • Replace memory foam mask cushions every month
  • Replace the tubing on your CPAP machine every three months. With daily use, the tubing on your CPAP machine gets dirty and the plastic begins to break down. This can lead to decreased efficacy in your sleep apnea treatment, so replacing the tubing as directed by the manufacturer is essential to ensuring you’re getting the most from your CPAP machine
  • Replace the humidifier water chamber every six months. Some CPAP machines have built-in heated humidifiers. If this is what your CPAP machine has, be sure to clean the chamber regularly to avoid build up of bacteria. Your water chamber will be much easier to maintain if you use distilled water to fill it, as recommended by most CPAP machine manufacturers
  • Replace your headgear every three months. The material attached to your mask that stretches around your head to allow it to fit correctly will begin to lose elasticity over time. Your mask won’t function properly if this material becomes too loose and no longer creates an effective seal between your mask and your face
  • Clean and replace your filters every month: filter systems vary across CPAP machine brands and models, but once a month is generally recommended. Keeping your CPAP machine’s filters clean helps in prolonging the lifespan of your device and elevates the purity of the air you breathe while using your CPAP machine

If you’re noticing irregularities in the functioning of your CPAP machine — such as the device becoming noisier or no longer generating adequate airflow — consult with your provider to determine if it’s time to replace it.

For more information on maintaining your CPAP machine, read this article: What Maintenance is Required on CPAP Machines?

Does the lifespan of a CPAP machine differ between brands?

Most CPAP machines from reputable brands such as ResMed and Philips Respironics have the same average lifespan of five years.

In order to ensure your CPAP machine is performing properly and to minimise the risk of malfunction over the years, follow our directions above alongside the cleaning and maintenance instructions included in your CPAP machine’s user manual. Regular care is key to getting the most from your CPAP machine throughout its lifespan. 

Which CPAP machine has the best warranty?

All CPAP machines from trusted providers come with some level of limited warranty should your device experience a failure during normal use (within the time constraints laid out in the warranty). However, coverage provided by limited warranties differs between CPAP machine brands and models.

Several brands offer limited warranties of various lengths for each separate component of the CPAP machine — for example, the device itself may be covered for two years, while the mask system and other accessories may be under warranty for a shorter period of time.

Philips Respironics’ DreamStation Pro CPAP Machine comes with a two-year limited warranty on the humidifier and a three-year warranty on the CPAP blower.

Do I need a backup CPAP machine?

There are several reasons you may consider having a backup CPAP machine — whether you travel often, split your time between two residences, or would simply like an additional CPAP machine for peace of mind should there be an issue with your main device.

For this, you might consider a travel CPAP machine. The DreamStation Go Travel CPAP Machine is the lightest, smallest travel CPAP machine on the market. It has the same trusted technology used by other Philips Respironics CPAP machines and you can even choose to add a travel battery (a backup for your backup, if you will).

The efficacy of your CPAP machine is directly linked to the quality of sleep apnea treatment it delivers to you. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when cleaning and maintaining your CPAP machine. If you are ever in doubt about whether you should be replacing your CPAP machine, it’s essential that you contact your provider to address any concerns you may have.