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Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
#1
Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
I recently changed medical insurance and, along with that, my DME supplier. My old supplier was absolutely relentless. Even though I stretched out my resupplies somewhat, I'm quite sure I ended up discarding items that were perfectly good. I just met with a rep from the new supplier to be fitted for a new mask and I asked her about the filters in particular. Mine never look dusty, even when I've left them in for a couple months (instead of the 1-2 weeks recommended). She looked at mine that's probably two months old and said it looks fine, but of course still recommended that it be changed.

Apart from the unnecessary expense, I absolutely despise the idea of throwing all of this stuff into the trash. Does anyone have any info on what, if anything, can be recycled? A Google search didn't offer any hidden gems.

I was happy to see a few older threads here that confirmed my suspicion that heated hoses, humidifier chambers, and masks can very likely last quite a while. Are there any guidelines on what is reasonable? How do you know, for example, when it's time to replace a hose?
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#2
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
I don't know about recycling but everything can be used longer than the recommended replacement schedule. I've been using the same full face mask and cushion for 2 years and 7 months (Resmed AirFit F20). It still seals as well as when new. I've been using my climateline heated hose and humidifier chamber for over a year. The only thing I replace regularly is the filter; usually at 6-8 weeks. I don't bother to check them since they are so cheap. I keep at least one spare of everything so if something goes bad I have a replacement and then I order a new spare. My DME doesn't like it but I have no desire to line their pockets by buying unnecessary components.
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.

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#3
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
"How do you know, for example, when it's time to replace a hose?"

when it turns green (black, orange, etc.) inside or it springs a leak!

I'm still using the original heated hose, mask assembly and headgear a month shy of 3 years in. I have a resmed apap and an asv so I have 2 humidifier chambers that are both about 3 years old and still usable.

probably anyone else would've ponied up $25 for a new mask strap but I got my wife to sew the end that split out so still perfectly usable.

the p10 mask frame exhalation port has to be blasted with a water jet every couple months or I get moisture on the mustache and presumably insufficient CO2 washout.

I change filters whenever I can see a difference between the used one and a new one. usually once every 6 wks to 2 months.

I rotate through 3 nasal mask cushions periodically (also for the last 3 years). I should probably get a new one but these seem fine (my leaks are from my lips not the mask).

there are organizations in many towns that redistribute durable medical equipment including consumables if they're unused in a sealed package.
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#4
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
I don't know about recycling, but I don't replace my CPAP equipment as often as my supplier of DME would like. 

I've been on SA Therapy for over a year now. I'm still using the same heated hose, water reservoir, and quiet hose elbow. I just replaced the air filter for my machine a day or so ago. I washed it a few times and it came out like new. That and the fact that it hardly ever got dirty. 

I'm using the same mask as well. I have charged out the cushion (pillow) as needed. I have good insurance and a good DME supplier. I think I only pay about 20% of what the supplies retail for. 

I have a good supply of everything mentioned above. I just can't see throwing away something that still is good. The headgear (straps) and the mask cushions are about the only things that I've had to replace so far. Washing the headgear in hot soapy water does tend to bring some life back into them. 

I have a hose cover and it protects the hose itself very well. That, and it makes virtually silent if it rubs against something. Mine rests atop our bed's headboard.
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#5
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
Once a month for the filters. I keep a spare for everything else like water chamber, complete masks, cushions, hoses, etc. and replace whatever wears out or starts leaking. I have been using CPAP for four years and have never had to replace a water chamber and have only replaced a bad hose once. Cushions tend to last me around 6 months.
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#6
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
At 19 months of therapy with the same machine, I'm still using the same headgear, mask, and hose.  I have only changed the filter, I think three times now.  Mine don't seem to suffer much until at least five months have gone by, at least going by the only clue I can detect, and that's a faint darkening compared to a new one.

I don't want to be buried, or cremated, with them things, but I'm gonna keep my options open.  Too-funny
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#7
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
I follow the manufacturer recommendations. Resmed says replace at least 6 months on filters and hose and tub when broken. Check it out. Resmed clinical manual page 20 and 21. 

Clean hose and tub weekly. Same reference.
CPAP is a journey like “The Wizard of Oz”. It’s a long slow journey. You will face many problems and pick up many friends along the way. Just because you reach the poppies, it doesn’t mean you are in Kansas. 
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#8
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
Things last longer than this, but the replacement schedule is usually
humidifier tank every six months,
tubing and mask every three months,
mask cushion every month.

My stuff lasts a lot longer. I have several backups of everything and I've given new unused stuff away to family members and friends.

The used stuff is considered medical waste, I suppose. There's no way to recycle it as far as I know.
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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#9
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
I'll ditto not knowing recycling info. I try to replace filters monthlyish. The rest gets replaced when it stops working correct. I think I've got 3 sets of everything replaceable for my ASV except the power cord.
Dave

I'm not a doctor in real or fictional life. My posts include opinions based upon user experience regarding CPAP therapy and should not be considered medically professional direction or advice.

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#10
RE: Replacement supplies: Reasonable schedule? Anything recyclable?
Replacing filters depends on your home conditions. When I have windows open in the summer, I have to replace my filter every 3 weeks. During the winter, every other month. My friend in what I call a hermetically sealed apartment replaces his every 6-12 months as it just never gets dirty. He never has dust on anything, which explains that. If you live in Santa Monica, you almost need to replace it every other week. So, this is a YMMV.

Humidifier bin - documentation indicated that these are designed to last for 2.5 years. There is no need to schedule regular replacement. I recommend having 2 backups. My brother had the same humidifier for 2.5 years. Then ended up in the hospital twice. Both times, we discovered leaks in the bin on the bottom. I think I'm much more gentle with equipment than the nurses, but I'm really glad I had the 2nd backup. My original bin finally started to leak about 3 months ago (it made it almost 4 years).

Masks - I prefer to have several backup masks. My Airfit headgear seems to wear out about 8-9 months and my current DME only sends the complete set. I don't have a 'scheduled' replacement although I have a scheduled reorder so that I don't fall behind. I don't want to buy these out of pocket so extra backups are fine with me.

Cushions/pillows - For the masks that I bought out of pocket, I have 6-12 backup pillows. For the ones paid by Medicare, I hope to eventually have the same number of backups. Sometimes you can go 6 months, a year, with the same cushion and then one or two tear and now you have no backups. Same thing with the nasal pillows. I'm still puzzled as to why the nasal pillows were tearing - I have no fingernails and the cats can't access my mask in the day under the pillow. Over the years, people have posted to replace your nasal pillows or cushions at least once a year because the silicon gets hard and wears on your nose. So, that's the most 'scheduling' I would consider.

Hoses - I don't replace unless damaged or discolored. One summer, I had what looked like mold (turned out to be algae) in my hose and tossed it. I know from aquarium keeping it's not really worth cleaning it.

Water - I still use distilled water for my brother's Phillips machine because the bin is harder to clean. With a water softener though, I no longer buy distilled water for my own Resmed machine. Every 6 months, I soak the bottom to get rid of the slight mineralization that occurs. Tank is easy to clean.

Machines - a backup is important. I bought a NEW machine on the used market for $150. Made all the difference in the world when I had to go back and forth caring for a relative. Also helpful when I unexpectedly had an injury and my Mom could just get the complete bag out of my closet without having to figure out what all I needed from the setup next to my bed. So, I always keep one machine ready to go with everything loaded just-in-case. We always take my brother's backup machine when he goes to the ER because 40% of the time he is admitted. Then I don't have to drive all the way home to get the machine. It really helps to have the same machine as your backup as well so you aren't scrounging for supplies, although I did ok.

Recycle - You can use the hose to help tame wires behind your electronics. Cut along the hose and then slide cords in. Even works with the heated cords depending on what you are cutting with. The rest of your supplies are considered medical waste and can't be recycled. If you have a broken machine, offer for parts for free on Craigslist.

Hope this helps, although it mostly confirms what others posted.
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