We've had folks take them apart before. It's been a while though. Not even sure how to do a search for that.
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I'll check in to the Forums again late tomorrow afternoon when I get home from work.
Anything that handles air handles dirt. The dirt will deposit on anything the air impacts or will settle out when it loses speed. The cupped impellers of a squirrel cage fan rotor eventually get full of dirt and reduce the efficiency of the fan quite a bit. That occurs in spite of the fact that a filter is used at the air inlet. It takes quite a while (several years) for that to happen.
As to whether it would be a problem on a CPAP machine, I'd say no, since they don't last long enough for that to happen under normal usage. As for germs and viruses, there wouldn't be any more of them inside there than there are on the outside, maybe even less.
WELCOME! to the forum.!
What Paula said.
Hang in there for more answers to your questions and good luck to you with your CPAP therapy.
They do not disinfect the internal parts of CPAP machine blower units, even in hospitals and sleep labs. The official position is that it's not needed.
The only thing that goes into the blower unit is room air. While things like dust and oils may get sucked into the the machine, the long term concentration of crud coming out of the machine is going to be no more than the concentration of crud going into the machine. The air is filtered, so it's probably cleaner than the air in the room in general.
If you do something to disturb the dust inside the blower unit, you might temporarily shake some of the dust out of the machine and get an extra puff of dust for a short period of time. In the long term, air coming out of the blower will be no dirtier than the air inside the room.
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If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
We disinfect the outside of the machine in the hospital, since the patient does not breath into the machine at all - they are on the far end, receiving the air, and that air is filtered. There is almost no upstream air from the patient during the outbreath, and none of it reaches the blower assembly. Most of it barely gets more than a few cm up the hose, and is instead directed out the exhaust port.
We DO have disinfection machines for the inner workings of every type of machine that passes air through it - large industrial types of things, mostly for surgical units and for units that have been in infected areas or need higher sterile requirements, but he sleep lab informs me that they clean and disinfect the hoses, masks and outlet of the CPAP boxes they have, and the exterior of the boxes and swap out the filters between patients, but any cleaning of the inner assembly is done by Philips themselves on a yearly basis, given the heavy use the machines get. They inform me that the machines really don't need to be cleaned all that often inside the blower assembly and the fans don't pick up that much dust thanks to the filters.
Thank you, Trish.
Also a friend of mine who has been prescribed CPAP has a machine that he has not been using for quite some time and he lives in a smoking environment and the ocean-side apartment he lives in is quite old and rather dusty and the air is rather salty due to the Gulf of Mexicao being about a block away from his home. I plan to go see that machine in these next couple of days and to try to help get this guy on the right track with his CPAP therapy and perhaps even to introduce him to the Apneaboard Forums.