CPAP Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact us via email at or by phone, toll free, at 1-888-598-8515.

General Questions

Do I need a prescription to purchase your products?

If you are purchasing a CPAP Machine, a CPAP Humidifier, or a CPAP Mask, we need a copy of a prescription written by your doctor. A sleep study report does not qualify as a prescription. A prescription is NOT required if you are purchasing any other products.

Do I need a Sleep Study?

If you suspect you may have some sleep-related problems, you should consult your doctor. As about sleep disorder breathing as Sleep Apnea is a serious and potentially fatal medical condition. If you feel you may suffer from this type of disorder you should be tested as soon as possible.

There are Sleep Questionnaires posted throughout the internet which can help you determine if you suffer from symptoms. Bring this questionnaire with you to a physicians to help evaluate your condition and possible symptoms of sleep apnea.

If your physician determines that a sleep study is necessary, a Polysomnogram, or Sleep Study, will be conducted which measures many key metrics while you sleep. These metrics are used to determine if you have Sleep Apnea or a number of other sleep-related conditions such as central sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The partial or complete closure of a patients breathing passages during sleep is know as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Apnea is Latin for “without breath”. The body responds to this lack of oxygen by arousing, or waking from sleep sometimes in a violent fashion. This cycle leads to the patient being unable to get the needed quantity of restful sleep and results in:

Constant Fatigue
Difficulty Focusing

Untreated Sleep Apnea is potentially fatal and frequently results in the following serious health problems:

Heart Attacks
High Blood Pressure

What is CPAP?

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP therapy provides a constant airflow which holds the airway open so that uninterrupted breathing is maintained during sleep. This eliminates Sleep Apneas and allows the patient to get a restful sleep.

CPAP therapy is traditionally provided through a nasal mask that seals around the nose. However, more innovative, comfortable and better sealing options are beginning to emerge.

What does the prescription have to say?

The prescription must state that it is for CPAP therapy and at what pressure your machine should be set at. If you are purchasing a CPAP machine, then the prescription must show one pressure setting, which is a number between 4 and 20 and measured in cm of H2O. If your are purchasing an Auto CPAP machine, then your prescription must state two different pressures: A high pressure setting and a low pressure setting. If you are purchasing a Bi Level machine, then your prescription must state two pressure settings: An inspiratory setting and an expiratory setting.

Do you bill my insurance company?

At this time, CPAP Supplies does not bill insurance companies for purchases. However, we do provide you with all of the necessary HCPCS codes and ICD9 code information on your invoice so that you can easily file for reimbursement from your insurance company.

Do you have other locations?

We unfortunately at this time only have one storefront location in Bellingham, WA. As our rapid growth continues, we will keep you informed of new storefront locations throughout the United States.

Which machine should I choose?

There is a great deal of information on the internet concerning CPAP Machines. While most of this information is accurate, please seek out as much information as possible. Things to consider are: type of usage, do you travel; do you need humidification, weight of the machine, size of the machine, noise level, etc.

We have provided a CPAP Comparison chart on our site to help in your decision making process.

How do I travel with my CPAP machine?

Traveling with your CPAP can sometimes be a hassle. However, with proper preparation, it can be very easy. If you are flying with your CPAP, you can bring your CPAP machine on the airplane with you and it will not count as one of your carry-on items. Never check your CPAP machine because through normal luggage handling procedures it can easily be broken. You may want to call ahead and find out your airline's procedures for carrying your CPAP machine on the airplane to prevent any delays through security. We have learned that many airlines will not let you use your CPAP machine during the flight because it is not a life-sustaining device. You may want to contact your airline to see if you can make special arrangements. This link will also provide helpful information.

If you are driving across country with your CPAP or are camping, you can still use your machine (depending on the make and model). 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. Respironics and Puritan Bennett sell battery adapter cables for those who wish to bring their CPAP camping in the wilderness. 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.

Is there a maintenance schedule for my CPAP Machine?

Contrary to you may have been told by your local provider, there is NOT any maintenance which must be performed on your machine with the exception of changing the filters on a regular basis. Many providers will attempt to sell you maintenance packages for your equipment. Be wary of vendors who often try to sell you extras.

Product Specific Questions

    What is an Auto machine?

    An Auto CPAP machine is a machine that uses two pressure settings; a high setting and a low setting. The machine starts at the lower setting (typically 2 - 4 cm below your normal CPAP pressure) and through the course of the night it senses when you are having an apnea occur. It then begins to slowly raise the pressure toward the set high pressure. One the apnea is overcome it will stay at that pressure for a period of time and then slowly begin to decrease back toward the low pressure. If another apnea occurs in the meantime, it will then begin to increase, so on and so forth. In this way, the machine automatically figures out the best pressure for you to be sleeping at for that particular night. This is a nice feature because your best therapy pressure is not always the same. It greatly depends on your daily activities and your personal habits.

    What is a BiLevel (BiPAP) machine?

    A Bi Level machine, or as some call it a Bi PAP machine uses two pressure settings for your therapy: An inspiratory pressure and an expiratory pressure. When you inhale, the therapy is delivered at the set inspiratory pressure, then when you exhale, the pressure is delivered at the set expiratory pressure. The inspiratory pressure is always greater than the expiratory pressure. This type of machine is usually used for people who cannot tolerate a normal CPAP machine or for people who have other conditions along with their Sleep Apnea.

    How do I know which size mask to purchase?

    If you are purchasing the same mask that you already have, then somewhere on your existing mask there will be a size indication, usually a single letter (M for medium, etc.). If you are feeling adventurous and purchasing a new style mask, then the best option is to call us and request a sizing gauge for the mask you are interested in. We have sizing gauges for many of the masks that we sell that we can send you at no cost. The other option would be to come see us if you are in the area and we can fit you, or if you are not in our area, then visit a local homecare dealer and see if they will be able to size you for a mask.

    How often should I change my filters, tubing, water chambers?

    For filters, if you are using the white, disposable filters, you should change them whenever you start to see them get fairly dirty. Remember, this is the air you are breathing at night! If you have the foam, reusable filters, then you should rinse them out and let them air dry at least once every other week. Medicare guidelines suggest that you replace your tubing every 30 days. This may be a little too often so we recommend replacing your tubing once every three months. This is because dirt and bacteria can build up in your tubing and that can cause you to become ill. Water chambers should be replaced at least once every 6 months.

    How do I clean my mask, tubing, water chambers?

    The best way to clean your mask is to use a product that we sell called Citrus II CPAP Concentrated Cleanser. This cleaner disinfects your mask without breaking down your mask cushion. Otherwise you can use a MILD soap that is NOT anti-bacterial. This is because the anti-bacterial soap will break down you mask cushion significantly faster. Tubing can be cleaned using a mild vinegar water solution (1 part vinegar, 3 parts water) and swishing is back and forth through your tubing. You can also use the CPAP Tube Cleaning Brush that we sell to assist you in the cleaning process. Water chambers can also be cleaned with the vinegar water solution.

    Should I use special water in my humidifier?

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

    How do I know if the mask I want will work with my machine?

    All of the masks are standardized so that any mask will connect with any machine. There are however a few masks that are not recommended for use with Auto CPAP machines. The ComfortLite by Respironics is not recommended with Auto CPAP's because of the way the machine senses when you are having an apnea occur. Also, it has been said that with pressures over 12 cm of H2O, nasal pillow style masks may become uncomfortable for the user because of the high pressure being applied directly inside the nostrils.

    Which machine is the quietest?

    All new machines these days are extremely quiet compared to older model machines. Patients will hear the noise from the air venting out of their CPAP masks before they will ever notice the noise from their CPAP machine. This is why it is recommended that when you shop for a new machine, look for other features like size, comfort features or the option of an integrated humidifier.

    What is the difference between a RemStar Pro and Remstar Plus?

    The Remstar Plus CPAP machine is a basic CPAP machine with all of the standard features and the option to add in an integrated heated humidifier. The Remstar Pro has all of the features of the Remstar Plus with the added functionality of being able to record information about your sleep. This information is only useful, however, if your doctor has the proper software to read the information from the machine. Unfortunately, the software is not to be sold to end users.

    What is C-Flex?

    The link below will take you to Respironics' page that explains how C-Flex works. It is VERY informative and will open in a new browser window so you do not loose your place on our website. CLICK HERE FOR C-FLEX INFO.