In today’s economy, everyone is doing their best to cut down on the cost of living. If you are one of 20 million adults with sleep apnea and are in the market for a new CPAP machine, you may have a bit of sticker shock when you do the research.
It may be tempting to look for a used CPAP machine, but the cost may be to your health and not just your wallet!
Below, we’ll dive into whether it’s safe to buy used CPAP equipment, and how to find a safe alternative.
Can I Buy a Used CPAP Machine?
With the high price of brand new CPAP machines, you may be wondering if there are any alternatives. It is possible to purchase a used CPAP machine, but stop to remember that a CPAP device is medical equipment that your health and wellness depends on.
You can check sites like Ebay and Craigslist or even visit a local garage sale and find used CPAP equipment for several hundred dollars less than the retail price. This may look like an ideal solution for someone trying to save some money, but consider what you’re NOT getting:
- The average lifespan of a CPAP or BiPAP machine is 5 years, and most sellers won’t list usage hours.
- A used CPAP won’t come with a warranty, so when it breaks you’re on your own.
- The air pressure on a worn CPAP may not match the pressure settings on the screen, so there’s no guarantee you’re getting the right level of CPAP therapy.
- The pressure settings won’t be adjusted by a certified clinician or respiratory therapist.
- The cleanliness of a used CPAP and CPAP supplies are in the hands (and mouth) of a stranger.
Dangers of a Used CPAP
What many don’t realize is that there is a safety risk when opting to purchase a used CPAP machine. Used CPAP machines have been contaminated by its prior owner. Even if you took all the precautions and cleaned the machine to the best of your ability, there is still a high chance that the machine contains germs or other environmental contaminants from the previous owner.
CPAP machines are warm and moist making it the perfect breeding ground for yeast, mold, bacteria, viruses, and mildew. It is also possible for small household pests to lay eggs in the cracks of the machine.
Keep Sanitation a Priority
Hospitals and medical device providers are able to reuse machines due to the strict sanitization of equipment that occurs in an environment that is highly regulated and controlled for patient safety. It is almost impossible to recreate that same sterile environment at home.
When you do purchase a new machine, it is important to keep to a regular cleaning and replacement schedule, even when you know that you are the only person that has used it.
There are many dangers of not sticking to a cleaning schedule, such as:
- Viral and bacterial respiratory infectionsSkin irritation and infections
To prevent these issues, you should regularly clean your CPAP supplies with warm, soapy water, and your humidifier water chamber should be emptied every night. Your full face mask or nasal mask cushion should be replaced every 2-4 weeks, nasal pillows should be replaced every 2 weeks, and headgear every 6 months.
However, even with strict adherence to a cleaning and replacement schedule, a used CPAP machine is still not a good idea.
Even if the person who used the CPAP machine before you had the strictest of cleaning routines, vacuumed and dusted their home regularly, and had no pets, there is a possibility that the person still used alcohol, perfumed soaps, bleach, or other irritants to clean their machine. These irritants can easily make you sick.
Is It Legal to Sell a Used CPAP Machine?
The FDA requires a prescription to buy a CPAP machine or CPAP mask, so it is not legal to sell a used CPAP, except to an authorized reseller.
A reputable reseller can be beneficial for sellers and buyers alike. If you’re looking to get rid of an old or unused CPAP machine, selling it to a reseller can help to keep it out of the landfill.
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to a new CPAP machine, a refurbished CPAP may be the safe compromise you’re looking for.
Used vs Refurbished CPAP Machines
While a new CPAP machine is always best if you can afford it, we’ve all got to face our budget reality. At the end of the day, a refurbished CPAP machine is a safer and smarter alternative to a used CPAP.
To find a trustworthy reseller, look for one that verifies your prescription– they’re more likely to follow FDA guidelines on testing and sanitization.
At CPAPsupplies.com we work directly with your healthcare provider to get your prescription for you!
Our large selection of CPAP machines occasionally includes refurbished machines that have been tested, cleaned, disinfected, and inspected for damage. Each one clearly shows the usage hours up front– so you can shop in confidence knowing your CPAP device is safe and effective.
Don’t let your sleep disorder, or a used CPAP, keep you awake at night!