Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

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Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by MizLizzie » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:43 pm

So I have been consistently using CPAP just over a year. I still have all my original equipment, and it seems fine. I do have a replacement reservoir -- seems like a necessity in case of cracking -- and two sets of medium pillows I rotate. Also a set of small pillows that I sometimes like better, for some reason. They all seem fine, no wear or cracking. Also my headgear and climate-line are original.

So, do you just use it until it fails in some obvious way? That's my inclination. At first, the crappy DME robo-called me constantly trying to sell me supplies, but insurance never covered any of it beyond the original machine. I have been just buying generic filters via CPAP.com and they work great. Mom has Medicare, and they just dump stuff on her. Pillows every month, I think. Hoses and filters constantly. So, what do you REALLY need?

Thanks for any insight.
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Re: Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by Goofproof » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:36 pm

You don't, so you prepare for the future, get a few filters, one extra of each mask and headgear, a hose, and if you can afford it a spare machine. Then as you use the spares replace them, rotate your spare stock.

Remember you can't count of Murphy or his friend, so if you can 2 spares is better. Don't get caught in Murphy's Law! Jim

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Re: Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by Julie » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:59 am

Why should this equipment be any different to other things you use til they need replacing - as becomes obvious when they wear out, lose effectiveness, etc? Just because greedy DMEs (who couldn't care less about mounting landfills of perfectly usable stuff) keep pushing replacements on you is not a reason to accept it unless it's needed.

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Re: Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by MizLizzie » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:12 am

That's kinda how I feel, Julie. It smells of a racket. But then, I'm still wearing 35-year old tee-shirts. I am sometimes almost irrational about recycling and waste, and it gets worse as I get older. So if there is a reason for switching out gear -- if, say, the nose pillows dry rot in a way I can't see or something -- then I don't want to be foolhardy with my health. But I'm not seeing it.
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Re: Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by SewTired » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:23 am

It is mostly a racket because they insist you need to replace at Medicare schedule and then go on about some garbage about bacteria and such. Silicone is basically inert and only if you are scratching it with a toothbrush or something is it going to harbor bacteria with regular cleaning. The Medicare schedule means you CAN replace at that time, not you MUST replace at that time.

Anyway, having 2 spares is more than enough especially if you aren't going through insurance. I try to plan orders for spices for once a year because of shipping costs, and certainly that should extend to your cpap needs if you can do it (almost all online retailers have free or reduced shipping at least once a year).

Tell your mom to tell the DME to take her off their call list the next time that they call. She will call THEM if she needs anything. That usually stops the influx. If all else fails, there's a place on Medicare.gov for her to complain and SHE SHOULD if they don't stop bugging her.

How long pillows last depends on the individual, the pillow/cushion and how it fits and even how the mask fits. You replace them when your leaks increase or you get nicks that are uncomfortable or a funny discoloration. There are wide variations based on cleaning methods, nose and mask fit, oils in your skin, etc. For my P10, I get about a month out of a pillow, then I boil it and get another 3 weeks. It just collapses on one side. I just replaced the pillow/cushion for my Dreamwear after 4-5 months of use. For the Swift, I'm not sure. My first pillow was damaged by a pet (it was probably 2 months old) and the second is just now reaching 2 months of use. I know, I have a lot of masks. I am transitioning out of the P10 because the mask is just too tight.

Another reason not to stockpile too much, even if you DO have complete insurance coverage is that your needs may change. There are plenty of folks on here that after years of using the same mask, suddenly find they need something different OR found a new mask that worked better. I probably have a dozen or so pillows for a P10 that I'm not sure I will use any longer. So, I'm not really ahead of the game there. My fault of course.
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Re: Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by LSAT » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:40 pm

Medicare does not allow a DME to automatically ship supplies. The customer must call and request items. Notify Medicare if your DME is automatically shipping.

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Re: Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by MrGrumpy » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:49 pm

How to replace gear? Oh man I have that down to a friggin science.

Masks....every six months by default. I dont care if they still look and feel as if they could make it another six months, when the six month mark hits, BAM my mask gets replaced with a brand new one

Mask cushions: mask cushions are arguably the nastiest piece of CPAP gear. Those cushions get disgusting and I dont even have oily skin! I have dry skin. The max for a mask cushion is three months, two months is what I prefer. Ive noticed my DME is telling me "every month" now. Thats changed from when I first got into CPAP in 2007, then it was "every three months." The way you tell a mask cushion is worn out is, 1) time...how long youve been using it, 2) as soon as it gets flimsy and the silicone starts getting this thinned out, real super floppy feel to it...thats time to replace it with a NEW cushion

Hoses: every three months replace it, or whenever you get a pinhole near either end, they say these modern machines "compensate" for loss of pressure if you have a leak. HORSE PUCKEY! Ive had pinhole sized leaks (just one) in a hose before and did not know it. Id just start feeling absolutely awful again, had no reason why. I'd call my DME, they'd tell me to wash my cushion and my face to make sure I was getting a good seal, they'd tell me to examine the hose for small holes...BINGO! Id fine them and trash them. Soon as I had a new hose with no pin hole in it, my therapy went back to normal and I felt normal again.

Filters: The DME/insurance standard is "every three months." I think you can get by on that, but personally I am proactive and replace my filters once a month. I dont wait until my filter gets dirty looking or clogs up slowing airflow. Filters cost so little and you can buy them OTC off the Internet for practically nothing...it makes more sense to me and my health to just replace them monthly

Humidifier pot: I change mine once a year. I know the DME/insurance standard is every six months (if I remember correctly). I change mine every six months. Get the tougher, dishwasher safe plastic humidifier pots. My first APAP lasted three and a half years, I loved it. I think I could have gotten another six months out of it, maybe another year. I ruined it by using a cheapo, flimsy plastic Resmed humidifier pot and the plastic cracked inside the humidifier, water went everywhere and the machine went bad maybe a few weeks afterwards.
Id be dead by now if I didn't use my CPAP gear every night.

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Re: Honestly, how do you know when to replace gear?

Post by chunkyfrog » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:19 pm

Rainy days, Murphy, etc; you never know.
It is better to be prepared than not. Do what is right for YOU.

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