Call: 866-499-1588

Below you'll find answers to our patients' most frequently asked questions. However, if your question isn't answered here, please feel free to call us toll-free at 866-499-1588.


General CPAP and BiPAP Questions

Q: Will I need to use my CPAP equipment for the rest of my life?

A: Most people continue to sleep using their CPAP devices for the duration of their lives, even though their pressure setting may need to be adjusted downward due to improvements in the severity of their sleep apnea. However, some no longer need treatment because they lose weight; experience changes in their muscle tone; undergo oral surgery;  or have their airway structures “trimmed” down by a physician.

Q: I’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) I don’t have trouble sleeping; in fact, I can sleep anywhere, anytime! Why do I need CPAP treatment?

A: Having OSA doesn’t mean you have trouble falling asleep. Having OSA means you have trouble breathing while you are asleep.

Q: Do I have to take my CPAP off after four hours or can I wear it longer if I want to ensure that I comply with my insurance company’s, Medicare’s or Medicaid’s compliance regulations?

A: In order to comply with your insurance carriers’ compliance requirements, you must wear your CPAP device a minimum of four hours a day. However, we recommend that you wear your device whenever you sleep, your airway can become obstructed anytime you relax enough to fall asleep, such as after meals or watching TV.

Q: If I go out of town for 1-2 days or less than a week, is it ok to leave my CPAP/BiPAP at home?

A: No. Every time you sleep your airway is obstructed and your oxygen drops your heart, brain, lungs, and other bodily systems are strained. That’s why it’s vitally important that you use continue your therapy whenever – and wherever – you sleep.

Q: Do I need a prescription to purchase your products?

A: Yes, if you are purchasing a CPAP machine, humidifier, or mask, we will need a copy of a prescription written by your doctor. A prescription is not required if you are purchasing any other suppliesand do not wish insurance to be filed.

Q: How often should I be re-titrated. In other words, how often should I have another sleep study to determine if my equipment pressures are set appropriately for me?

A: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that patients be “re-titrated” once a year or when lifestyle changes occur, to ensure that optimum therapeutic levels are maintained. This is especially important if you - Especially if/when you lose or gain weight; no longer feel you are getting optimal sleep; and/or if you are taking new medications (which can make apnea worse).

Q: Can I take sleep aids while using my CPAP like I did during my study?

A: You should always check with your physician and pharmacist before taking prescription or over-the-counter medication with your CPAP therapy in order to avoid any possible negative reactions.

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CPAP and Humidification

CPAP and Humidification Questions

Q: What is CPAP therapy?

A: CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure,” and it is considered to be the most recommended and effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). 
A CPAP machine provides air at a constant prescribed pressure through a tube and CPAP mask, which patients suffering from OSA to maintain uninterrupted breathing while sleeping by holding open their airways.

The pressure of the air is determined during your sleep study and your doctor will prescribe you a CPAP machine at that pressure. CPAP therapy is traditionally provided through a nasal mask that seals around the nose. However, more innovative and comfortable options are available and advances in the delivery of CPAP therapy are continually occurring. 

For instance, CPAPs with FLEX or EPS technology will offer you exhalation relief. APAP, BiPAP and Bi-Level machines offer various levels of pressure throughout the night and exhalation relief.

Q: What does the term, “humidification” mean in reference to CPAP therapy?

A: Humidification, refers to the process of adding humidity, or moisture, to the CPAP air, which reduces nasal passage irritation – and sometimes, bleeding – due to dryness. Additionally, adding moisture also reduces possible swelling, excess mucous, congestion, and sneezing, and makes patients’ sinuses less susceptible to bacterial infections. Humidification is therefore, a critical part of CPAP therapy.

Q: What comes with my machine?

A: Your machine will come with a six-foot hose, power cord, at least one filter, and manuals. Most manufacturers include a carrying case which is designed specifically for their equipment. Your machine will not come with a delivery system or mask. CPAP masks must be purchased separately. 
You’ll find more details and specifics on all of our CPAP / BiPAP equipment in the “Shopping” section of this website, under the “CPAP Machines” sub tab.

Q: What type of power does my CPAP need?

A: Most CPAP and Bi-level (BiPAP) machines today are designed to operate on both AC and DC battery currents. In the United States, the AC current from wall outlets is 110 volts and most batteries produce 12 volts of DC current. Overseas, the AC current is usually 220 or 240 volts.

Q: What maintenance is required on machines?

A: The only care you are required to do for machines is to clean or change the filters at the air intake of the machine to keep the internal parts from accumulating dust. 
Here are some more tips on caring for your machine:

  • Keep the area around your machine clean and be sure to remove all dust. This will ensure that  you continue to receive optimum air quality.
  • Keep the air intake of the machine unblocked. Curtains, bedding, and papers can easily block the air intake and reduce the airflow to your machine.
  • With most machines, it is easy to spill water from the humidifier into the machine and cause damage. Therefore, if you have a humidifier, avoid picking up your machine when the humidifier is attached. Instead, empty the water from the chamber every morning.
  • We highly recommend that you take your machine into Feeling Great’s CPAP clinic every six months to have it re-calibrated and cleaned by one of our certified CPAP clinicians.

Q: I have a big bulky old CPAP machine. Is there a small, less noisy, more compact machine?

A: Yes, there are smaller, more compact machines available for self-paypurchases. One of the customer care representatives at Feeling GreatRespiratory Equipment will be happy to help you choose one that suitsyour needs.

Q: When can I replace my old CPAP machine and get a new one?

A: The type of insurance you have will determine how often you're able to upgrade to a new machine. Most carriers allow you to do so every five years.

Q: I've had my CPAP machine for three weeks and continue to sneeze all day. What may be causing this?

A:You may be experiencing an allergic reaction to the cleaner you are using, so it’s a good idea to try alternate cleaners. Also, if you are using humidity, try using distilled water. You may also be allergic to the materials in your CPAP mask. If you’re not sure, please call us toll free at: 866-499-1588.

Q: How do I travel with my CPAP?

A. Below are some tips for “easy traveling” with your CPAP device.

If you are flying:

  • Don’t check your CPAP machine, because it can easily get broken. Rather, take it with you on the plane; it will not be counted as one of your “carry-on” bags. It is also a good idea to put a copy of your prescription in your CPAP bag, so it's always handy if you need it.
  • Call your airline ahead of time to find out if they have any instructions or special procedures for bringing your CPAP machine on the plane with you, and for getting through security.
  • Most airlines do not allow passengers to use their CPAP devices during flights. If you need to make special arrangements, call your airline ahead of time.

If you are driving or camping:

  • If your machine has the ability to run off of 12V (check your owners manual) then you will be able to run your machine off of either a battery, or plug it into the cigarette lighter adapter in your car / RV if you purchase the proper cables.
  • We sell battery adapter cables for those who wish to bring their CPAP camping in the wilderness. You’ll find these in our online store.
  • A 12V deep cycle marine battery or a motorcycle battery are recommended for the longest life between charges. The life span of the battery depends on its rating and what your pressure setting is on your machine.

Q: How do I get rid of build-up in my water chamber?

A: Below are two useful tips for getting rid of build-up in your machine's chamber.

  • Daily: pour out last night’s water, rinse and air-dry. 
  • Weekly: Disinfect 1 part white (distilled) vinegar, 2 parts water (approximately 1/3 cup of white vinegar to 2/3 cup water); shake untilthe entire inside surface is coated and let it sit 15-20 minutes. Rinse clear andsmell to be sure all vinegar is gone.

Q: Should I use special water in my humidifier?

A: You should always use distilled water in your humidifier to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits on your water chamber. This will significantly prolong its life.

Q: What are the most frequent side effects that I’m likely to experience during CPAP therapy?

A: The two most common side effects are dry mouth (which can be relieved by increasing the humidity level on your machine) and  feelings of"air" in the stomach (which is usually relieved when our patients change their sleeping positions). 

Q: How often should I change my CPAP filters?

A: At a minimum you should change your filters once a month. We, however, recommend that you do so twice per month (and this is the amount allowed by most insurance carriers). You should definitely change your filters, however, if you notice any discoloring. Additionally, you should wash and dry your filters as needed. 

Q: I feel like my therapy may not be working because my machine is making loud noises and there’s a lot of air blowing from my mask? What should I do?

A: Either your mask is fitted incorrectly or your seal is wearing out, and needs to be replaced.

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Masks and Supplies

Mask and Supply Questions

Q: What kind of mask do I need?

A: Using the right mask is essential to the success of your treatment. You will need a mask this is comfortable and fits properly. It should form a good seal on your face so that air doesn't leak (this would be uncomfortable and make your therapy less effective). A nasal mask which covers the nose is the most common. However, some people breathe through their mouth when they sleep. In this case, a full face mask that covers both the nose and mouth is the best option. 
Another option would be a nasal mask and chinstrap. This will prevent the jaw from opening during sleep and still provide for effective therapy.

Q: My mask seems to be leaking. What does that mean?

A: Unfortunately, our faces are designed differently, and no mask will seal 100% of the time, because air will look to escape via every nook and cranny. However, you’ll want to get the best fitting mask and adjust your headgear properly to have the best seal. Also, before using your equipment make sure your face is clean and free from moisturizers, make up, or creams.

Q: How do I clean my mask and hose?

A: There are many methods available. Most manufacturers of CPAP masks include cleaning instructions in the packaging. Alternatively, we recommend that our patients use a solution containing one part white (distilled) vinegar and two parts water. Simple soak your masks for 15-20 minutes and then dry it on paper towels. This is a great  - and inexpensive - way to disinfect your mask!

Q: How often can I pick up my supplies?

A: Use the following as guidelines, because they adhere to most insurance carriers' requirements.

  • Once a Month – Face cushion/nasal seal cushion, nasal pillows, device filters.
  • Every 3 Months – Mask (excludes headgear) and tubing.
  • Every 6 Months – Headgear, chin strap, humidifier water chamber.
Extra supplies are available for self-pay purchases. 

Q: I often wake up with water in my mask/tubing – what can I do? Why does this happen?

A: Your humidifier is on too high. Start at the 1st setting (1) and gradually increase as necessary each night.

Q: I have a full face mask and my humidifier is turned all the way up and I still have a dry mouth. What should I do?

A: Adding a chinstrap to your headgear is often helpful under these circumstances, because it will prevent you from keeping your mouth open and having more moisture evaporate. Additionally, your doctor may need to adjust some of your medications if he or she feels that it may be contributing to your dry mouth. 

Q: I am experiencing a cut on the bridge of the nose. What should I do?

A: If so, your mask is probably too tight so we suggest that you loosen it a bit. Also, put some zinc oxide, a band-aid, or skin tape on the affected area, but do not discontinue your CPAP therapy.  However, if your sore continues to worsen, contact your physician. You may need to return to your  CPAP clinic for another mask- one with a more comfortable, and better-fitting style. 

Q: How do I dry CPAP hoses after cleaning?

A: After cleaning your tubes and hoses in warm water (don't use soap in the water or you may be blowing bubbles out of your tube!) and rinsing them thoroughly, you can dry them by leaving them alone for a while or using one or more of the techniques listed below.  It’s a good idea to have two hoses so you can rotate them as necessary.

  • Spin the tube gently. The centrifugal force pulls the water to the outside of the tube.
  • Tie a fishing weight to a nylon string, paper or cloth towel, or other fabric and pull it through the tubing.
  • Set a hair dryer on low and blow it through the connector hose (you can even duct-tape it to the end if you’d like to leave it there for a while)
  • Place the hose in a freezer for a couple of hours. The droplets will freeze and fall off the hose surface when you flex it from the outside.

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Contact Details

Durham: 919-477-1588
Toll Free: 866-499-1588

Fax Durham: 919-477-1688
Fax Toll Free: 866-499-1288

Sleep Medical Center Locations: Durham, Burlington, Jacksonville, North Carolina
Feeling Great Respiratory Equipment: Oxygen, CPAP / BiPAP, Nebulizers

Call 866 499 1588

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