What is the Difference Between a Disposable CPAP Filter and a Non-Disposable or Reusable CPAP Filter?

All PAP machines (CPAP, bi-level or BiPAP, APAPs, etc.) use a filter to clean the ambient air (fancy way of saying regular room air) before it is blown through the tubing and into your airway. Replacing the filter is the only type of maintenance that needs to be performed on your CPAP machine (not including the humidifier) .

Filters, like mask cushions and tubing, should be replaced regularly to ensure optimal usage and comfort. Just like the filter for your home air-conditioning or your vacuum cleaner, the filter will get dirty with use. Environmental factors can affect how regularly you need to change your filter. If you smoke or have pets that shed a lot, your filter may get dirtier faster.

Each machine may require a different size of filter. On the newest ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP unit, the filter is located at the left side under a plastic flap that looks like a grate (see picture).

Learn more about the different types of filters and which one is best for you.

What is a disposable CPAP filter?

Disposable filters are usually made of a paper-like material and cannot be reused. The material is electrostatically charged and attracts particles in the air to keep them out of your CPAP machine (filter shown above).

Who should use a disposable CPAP filter?

If you have allergies or other sensitivities and are looking for the easiest option for maintaining your machine, disposable filters may be a good choice as reusable filters require some maintenance (see below).

How often should I replace my disposable CPAP filter?

A disposable filter should be replaced as soon as it becomes discolored, has visible residue or at least every 30 days, even if they look clean. You may need to change it more often if you’re in a very dusty environment. Medicare guidelines allow up to one filter every two weeks.

How much does a disposable CPAP filter cost?

Disposable filters are covered by many insurances that follow Medicare replacement guidelines to be replaced every two weeks (that’s 6 filters per 90-day supply shipment). The cash rate for each filter is usually between $2 and $12 (depending on the type of machine) and varies by insurance and supplier. Medicare reimbursement for a disposable filter is about $5 each (learn more about the usual replacement schedule for CPAP supplies here).

A7038 is the CPT code used by insurances.

What is a reusable or non-disposable CPAP filter?

Non-disposable or reusable filters are usually made of foam and can be reused. You should check and wash your reusable filter at least once a week with warm, soapy water. Make sure to rinse it well to remove all soap and lay it out to dry before putting it back into your CPAP machine.

Who should use a reusable filter?

Reusable filters are also known as pollen filters because they are better at filtering out some larger particles in the room air, such as pollen, dirt and pet hair. If you are paying cash for your supplies, these might be an option as they are not always covered by insurance (see below) and are replaced less often. These filters also require more maintenance than disposable filters. It’s very important that you are prepared to clean this filter once per week (see above).

What does a reusable filter cost?

A reusable filter will probably cost about $6-$10 at a cash rate and is covered by some insurance companies. Even though it’s a reusable filter, it still needs to be replaced every three months or as soon as the foam rips.

A7039 is the CPT code used by insurances; however, it’s not always approved, especially if the code for disposable filters is approved.

Can I use both filters together?

Some devices come with two filters, like the Phillips Respironics Dreamstation CPAP. This device includes a small disposable filter and a larger reusable filter. You can use both filters together as long as you replace the disposable filter once or twice and month and wash the non-disposable filter weekly.

Other devices, like the ResMed AirSense 10 series, only work with disposable filters. You cannot use a reusable filter with this device.

What is a bacteria filter or hypoallergenic filter?

Also called an inline filter, this universal (can be used with almost any device) filter is used in conjunction with the either the traditional disposable or reusable filter. It is a type of disposable filter and should be replaced as soon as the filter shows sign of visible residue or looks discolored. It is a separate component that is attached to the CPAP machine air outlet and the tubing.

This filter is not typically covered by insurance and costs about $5 each.

How can you order new CPAP filters?

Learn about our resupply program online here. We will verify your insurance and request authorization if needed to ship supplies.

Order Supplies

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Comments

  1. Barbara Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Just wondering, do you need to use a filter with the ResMed 10 CPap machine?

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