CPAP Machine Checklist
Before you start travelling this holiday season, check your machine and tube and make sure they will not cause you trouble just when you don’t need it. When in doubt, get a replacement part or piece to have as a spare.
And if you wish to use your CPAP machine while flying, makes sure you are in contact with the airline well in advance of your departure date. You will need their approval to use your machine in flight. Remember to also take a copy of your prescription with you in case you do need to purchase anything.
The Checklist . . .
- Check (and change) the intake filter. Do this monthly, before it fills with dust. Dirty filters makes the motor run harder, thus reducing the operating life of the machine. Makes sure the filter cover clicks back into place.
- Make sure all the buttons are still working properly, especially the ones you push the most – usually on/off and ramp.
- Check the power cord at both ends and along its length. Replace it if it is not perfect. Do the same if your machine has an external power pack. Also check the connection points and ensure all the connection pins are in prime condition.
- Wipe down the machine on all sides, top and bottom, removing any grime. Check for cracks and breaks or lose screws in the base of the machine
- Check the humidifier chamber for leaks, cracks and breakages. If it is a replaceable chamber (Fisher Paykel 200 or 600 series) buy a new one and keep it as a spare.
Longer life chambers need to be checked just as judiciously for cracks and leaks. Replacement parts are also available for them. Check especially where the metal meets the plastic on both Resmed and Respironics humidifiers.
- Check the join points on any covers and make sure any little pins are not broken, and that the covers close properly. If you have a Resmed H3 or H4 humidifier, make sure the top cover is clicking closed at the front.
- Buy a spare tube to take with you. A non-heated tube costs about $20 and works regardless of the machine you have.
- Go over the length of your tube and make sure it isn’t leaking anywhere. Turning the machine on, and putting your hand over the open end of the tube is a good way of checking.
- Also make sure that both tube ends are still gripping onto your machine and mask properly. For heated tubes, ensure the connection points are still in prime condition and not bent.
- If you are considering using an inverter, or converter to run your machine off a battery, get the stuff you need now. That gives you a month or so to thoroughly test out your system, and correcting issues while you have plenty of time to do so. Remember to save the battery life by turning the humidifier to zero before you turn on the machine. You will still get some humidification, but reduce your power requirement by over 25%.
- If data is important to you, make sure any recording device (SD card or USB stick) is downloaded before your trip.
- Don’t fiddle with the machine – the only thing a “Weekend Warrior” can do to a CPAP machine is stuff it up. Keep your screwdrivers in the shed, not in the machine.
SHORT TIME FIXS: bottled or tap water can be used in a humidifier, electrical or similar tape can be used to seal a leaky tube, a standard tube will work in place of a heated tube, a machine will work without a humidifier, a staple will hold a velcro tape join together, and duct tape can be used to hold a nasal or full face mask in place (fold it onto itself where it is not connected to the frame.)