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How often to change P10 pillows
#1
Still figuring out how to handle long term CPAP usage and was wondering how often folks change out the pillows on an AirFit P10. My insurance company will cover replacements every 3 weeks but that seems excessive. I wash them once a week in warm soapy water and they don't look worn at all after just 3 weeks.

Also what about the filters on a Dreamstation? Again they send enough for a change out every 3 weeks on the fine filter and recommend cleaning the larger filter at that time.

I want to keep my system germ free but don't want to be wasteful. I do have a yearly deductible to meet on my insurance and will probably exceed it every year so the cost will essentially be born by the insurance company.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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#2
The allowed filter exchange interval is excessive. I find they can work for 3-months and still not have much accumulation. The filters are more for protection of the machine internals than anything else, and in truth a dirty filter actually filters better than a clean one. I am yet to see a dirty filter.

Nasal pillows can be cleaned at whatever interval suits you. A week seems like a long time between cleanings, but I get mine every couple or 3 days. When I didn't have good insurance they would easily last 6-months. You have to choose what replacement interval keeps your leak rate in check and works well. I'm sure you could use one a long time if you were so motivated. I think my insurance invoices like $45 each for these, and I hope my insurance takes a discount.

Don't worry about "germ free" on the blower unit. All it sees is ambient air from your room, so not much possibility of contamination. Just keep the humidifier clean and wash the hose once a month.
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#3
Thanks Sleeprider. I haven't seen any sign at all of dirt on the filters and thought that was overboard to change them every 3 weeks.

Have to say the nasal pillows have been staying very clean, even with just a once a week thorough cleaning. If it comes down to having to pay out of pocket I agree that I could make them last for quite a while. May build up a little on-hand-stock while my deductible is met and change the replenish schedule when I have to cover it out of pocket.
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#4
Cranberry Ray,
FYI: I found a supplier, who is on the forum list, that sells the P10 replacement pillows cheaper than what my copay is if I go through a DME with my Medicare Advantage plan. . . $10 vs $17.
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#5
Okay, this might gross some of you out, but I recently learned a lesson on how long P10 pillows last and how long is too long.  

I made the transition from Simplus FFM to P10 Pillows in September 2015.  I used that same headgear, mask, and pillow until last week on January 16.  So that was about 16 months from Sep 2015 to Jan 2017.  

During that time I looked for signs that it ought to be replaced, such as noise and leaks that others have noted here in the forum. Once about half way through this time the head strap started to get loose... I washed it in the washing machine and let it air dry, and it tightened back up just like they said it would.

When I purchased the mask initially, it came with a can of mask wipes ($12 product for a penny as an upsell with the mask).  So I used those daily to wipe and clean the pillows. When the mask wipes ran out I found (based on a suggestion from someone here on apneaboard) that I could buy unscented baby wipes for about $3.  Baby wipes because they don't have alcohol that would destroy the silicone. They work great and I use them every morning to keep the pillows clean.  The mask unit I would clean out every few months with dishwashing detergent and warm water, using a baby bottle brush to clean out the tiny vent holes.

I used to clean the air hose once a week using dishwashing detergent and one of those hose brushes with the long wire handle.  But around the time I switched to the P10, I got busy with other life priorities and stopped cleaning the air hose. After about 8 months of not cleaning the air hose, the air started to get a little funky and so I replaced the air hose (and also the reservoir).  But still kept the same headset and pillow which I continued to keep clean.

Air filters I haven't been consistent with.  About every three or four months I would think of it, and either clean the filter by back blowing with a hair dryer or replace it.  These get dusty in our house, and I ought to replace them more often (more on that below).

Fast forward to late December 2016, which is about eight months on the second hose and reservoir. Haven't paid much attention to the air filter. Starting to notice that despite cleaning the pillows each day, starting to get a funky smell again. Also I started getting symptoms of a cold, stuffy nose during the day, slight cough. At night these symptoms don't bother me because the air pressure keeps the air passages open. Then I'm also beginning to notice air leaks are increasing. The mask vents are getting noisy.  The pillows break seal when I move around because the head strap feels like it's getting slack again.  So I'm waking up sometimes at night and adjusting the mask like I used to do with the FFM. 

I decided to make a clean sweep and on Jan 16 I replaced the P10, air filter, air hose, and reservoir.  I have to say that I was amazed at the difference. The air had that fresh new silicone smell. The P10 was very snug as it was the first day on the previous new one, even to where I had to adjust the strap to make it looser to be comfortable.  Mask stayed in place, air leaks went away. I hadn't noticed the mask getting gradually louder over time, but once I replaced the mask the air vent was incredibly quiet. One thing that really got my attention was something I hadn't experienced in so long that I had almost forgot about it altogether... that is that heightened sense of smell upon first waking up in the morning and removing the mask. 

So bottom line is I have found the P10 headgear, mask, and pillow to be very durable and will last a long time if you keep it clean. But although I have proven that one can last up to 16 months, I now realize that there is a gradual deterioration in the quality over time that is hardly noticeable from day to day. But if you let it go until your comfort is noticeably impaired, then the difference upon replacing it leads me to believe my quality of sleep was more impaired and for longer than I realized.  

Going forward I will be more aware of that degradation and replace the P10 sooner because it makes such a difference to keep it fresh.  I think my insurance covers air filters and pillows once a month, headgear and mask every three months, air hose and water reservoir every six months. Like some others have suggested, it's good to have some spares in case something breaks in between insurance intervals. So I had accumulated some spares that I could have easily used to replace the items sooner than I did. I was just interested to see what the service cycles might really be so I wasn't replacing them on the insurance schedule.  Now I can see the benefit of what you might call preventive maintenance based on the recommended schedule.  

Based on this experience (or experiment?), I am anticipating to replace the air filters and pillows every one or two months.  The entire P10 kit as well as air hose and potentially the water reservoir at around six months.  Honestly, it's like getting a whole new machine.  It smells, feels, and performs better.  Sleeping without leaks, and waking up with that heightened sense of smell for the first few minutes each morning is a better way to start the day. 

Saldus Miegas
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#6
I have an Airsense 10 machine and dusty bedroom so I buy a 12 pack of the hypoallergenic filter and replace it every 3 weeks. Gets quite black in that time. Better caught in a filter than lining my lungs
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#7
Saldus, excellent post, and I agree with your strategy, with the exception of the humidifier chamber. I think they can last much longer. I have 2 of them that I use alternating day to day. That way they always dry between uses and never develop any funk. Same thing with air hoses, but on a longer rotation time. One is always clean and dry, and I use Star-San to ensure the hose is disinfected.

I also used a P10 for a year or more, but had a couple pillows to rotate. I like the full changeout at 6 months and a fresh nasal pillow monthly. Mine are dispensed 2/month, so I just ask for them every other month.
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#8
How long depends on your environment, usage, nose structure, washing, oils/acids in your skin, etc.

I find the P10 pillows last me about 5 weeks. I boil them and can get another 3 weeks out of them. So about 2 months. Sometimes one fails early. My P10 mask really gummed up by about 7 months usage. I've tried all the suggestions except the Waterpik and just can't breathe with it after that. So, I get a replacement frame. The headgear is still holding up well though.

Filters: Everybody's environment is different. Change them when they start to turn grayish. This will vary from season to season for most people. Some just automatically change one per month. For me, I change about every other month in the winter, and twice a month in the summer (dust from local road construction).

You want to have a backup hose and humidifier bin. Even though they typically last a couple of years, something can happen and you get cracks which result in leaks. Same with the pillows and filters. Once you have an idea of how many you will be using, plan for a backup supply and then don't order once you have sufficient.
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#9
I just found this forum while looking for clarification on the recommended schedule to change out nasal pillows. 

When I got my CPAP machine (Phillips Dreamstation) last July, I was told to change the pillows every two weeks and the mask every three months. They gave me enough pillows to last through September. 

I switched to Medicare in October and had to change supplier, which was a hassle. 

Finally end of December I received new components; new mask and one set of pillows. The new supplier said the headgear/mask was good for six months per medicare and based on the first mask condition after five months I would say that was fair. But they only gave me the one set of pillows, and I wonder if they are supposed to last for six months too? I ended up using the previous set for three months and they seemed to leak at that time. 

Wonder why Phillips does not include this information in their manuals. I think they should.
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#10
Dogmuck, unfortunately it's up to the insurance company to decide how often you need replacement pillows. You can always purchase some online if they're not lastng as long as they say they should.

Welcome to the board and good luck with your therapy. I advise you to download the Sleepyhead software so you'll be able to get more involved in your treatment. The folks on here are unbelievable helping people get the most out of their machines.
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