Obtaining a used CPAP device instead of buying? Here’s a 10 point checklist for your safety.
Is there such thing as a shopping season for CPAP (or PAP) devices?
For some suppliers, PAP sales go up and down according to the time of year or by the frequency of overnight studies from local sleep clinics. In general, PAP shopping trends are too broad to apply to all markets and regions. This is largely be cause there are people who shop for PAP devices throughout the year and don’t rely on trends when obtaining old or used PAP devices. If this is you, we understand. We especially “get it” that not all machines are equal and “used PAP” devices can be just as good as new ones. For you anytime shoppers, we’ve compiled a checklist of 10 things to consider before obtaining or owning a used PAP device. Here they are:
When going after a PAP device online or offline, it is important for you to actually see what you’re getting.
Consider the overall condition of the unit with pictures, video or seeing it person for your personal assessment. Make sure the device can be cleaned or it can become a health hazard.
Here’s a recommendation from a recent user
Here’s what I do when I get a used machine. I wipe down outside with an alcohol wipe or spray some sort of disinfectant on a cloth or paper towel. I will also wipe down the inside of the humidifier and the little outlet where the hose attaches.
The water chamber if I choose to keep it gets a really got hot soapy water soak and cleaning. REALLY hot water. I will do the same for the hose (if it comes with one) and I am going to keep it but most of the time I just use one of mine that I have been using and save the other for an emergency situation or travel maybe.I changed the filters in the machine to brand new.
Take pictures of the unit and ask friends, family, etc. for their input. It seems everyone knows someone who uses a PAP device these days. Therefore, a second or third opinion is enormously valuable.
So you’ve found a used unit, now it’s time to asses its value before buying.
Dig up some information about the spare parts you’ll need over time. Accessories like tubing, filters, filter covers (if any), water chambers, operating knobs (they do break), etc. will need replacing.
As with anything that gets used daily, something will need changing or replenishment.
Not every unit is as cleaned up as it appears to be.
Of course, a clean exterior is important. Products like this help.
Internal sanitizing of a PAP unit is not done with soap and water ~ ever. Cleaning the inside of a CPAP is important because internal workings capture bacteria, mold, etc. over time. Consider taking the unit to a PAP vendor for an “inside the unit cleaning” before you buy it. If this is impractical, consider the Soclean.
Remember that a PAP unit must be equipped with tubing and a PAP mask to be useful. Consider asking the seller these questions:
- Is the PAP compatible with any tubing or does it have an electrical tubing connection only?
Some older PAP devices were equipped with an electric heated tubing only, making it difficult for universal tubing to connect. Inspect the used PAP carefully and do some research on the device you are considering.
The previous user of the PAP device you want may have taken the unit everywhere. And the unit might show its run hours to let you see the proof.
The run hours on a PAP device are similar to an odometer on a vehicle. The longer it was previously used, the faster the internal mechanism will eventually run down or break down. Ask to see any programming on the machine (by an LCD screen) that might tell of its run hours. This will tell you if the unit is newer or a relic.
Lastly, a used unit may or may not be out of warranty. Here are some manufacturer phone numbers to call. Ask them about the warranty of the unit by offering its serial number.
Resmed – 1.800.424.0737
Respironics – 1.800.345.6443
Fisher Paykel – 1.949.453.4000
Kego – 1.866.862.7328
What’s that smell?
Getting the smell out of a used machine is either quick or a long process. Here are some first-hand accounts regarding getting rid of nasty smells from a used PAP unit.
Consider what one PAP user had to say:
*SMELL IT* with it *OFF* stick your nose on both the intake and air outlet, and give a good sniff… I once bought a used machine and didn’t notice the stale cigarette smoke smell because I made the mistake of smelling it while running, the rush of fresh air being pulled through will drown out any stink… and stink this one did, when I took it apart, the silicone parts inside were *yellow* instead of clear. (I’d have bought it anyway, because it was desperately needed, but I could probably have gotten some $$ off to compensate for all the time I spent cleaning it and getting the stink out of the silicone).
Another PAP user reported this “fix” –
Vamoose Cigarette Odor Eliminator is very effective at eliminating cigarette odor and all other tobacco odors. It has the ability to penetrate, seek out and react with the components of tobacco smoke (tar and nicotine) dissolving and converting them into gaseous molecules without causing any damage to fabrics, materials or hard surfaces.
Vamoose Cigarette Odor Eliminator can remove cigarette odor and all other tobacco odors in homes, apartments, condominiums, cars, trucks and RV’s. Vamoose Cigarette Odor Eliminator also works on furniture, leather, wood, paneling, tile, cloth, drapes, carpets and most other surfaces that harbor the tar and nicotine that results from cigarette and tobacco smoke. Vamoose Cigarette Odor Eliminator gets rid of the cigarette odor and eliminates the tar and nicotine too!
Let the CPAP run inside a tight box that has vamoose in it.
Another option is:
Ozium on a cloth or cotton ball nearby (the filer inlet), but not touching.
(the smells from inside) dissipate in a few hours. Inexpensive.
Another detailed this option:
I did have an S9 that I purchased cheap on CL. I mistakenly did not try it when I bought it…just plugged it in to be sure that bit worked. When I discovered the smoke smell, I ran it next to an open window 3 days in a row for about 6 hours. That took out about 75% of the smell. Then I sprayed Frebreze about 12″ from the air intake while it was running without a filter. I did this twice and all the smell was gone. I guess it may depend on the amount of time the machine was subjected to the smoke.
Yet another added:
Now if the machine has some unpleasant odors…that’s a different story but usually what I try first is simply let the machine run outside on the porch with a new filter for several hours (it’s dusty where I live unless it has rained recently) and I toss that filter when I am done. I have yet to get a machine that running it outside didn’t remove any odors in it and it wasn’t necessarily smoke odors. You know how some people you go to their house and it sort of has a general odor that you really don’t care for??? Maybe incense or candles or pets or whatever…those type of odors.
We recommend in addition to any forementioned technique is the use of aromatherapy.
What if the power goes our or I go out camping? What are your options?
Compatibility with a secondary power source like external lithium batteries might be a critical turning point with your buying consideration.
Use this link for a quick look at PAP unit and battery compatibility.
Or click on each photo to learn more.
So, if one seller has a unit that is not to your liking, what then?
Who else should you buy from?
Many choose family, friends and the classifieds (online and offline) for buying alternatives.
When considering a Vendor, insist on being more strict with what you’re being sold. Many vendors can have cleaning, sanitization services, PAP calibration checks, memory downloads from the unit to clear out before you buy it.
Insist on free services to assure a safe purchase.
Now that you’ve found a unit and uses the above steps to assure a possible sale. Take the unit through these last few paces of qualifying a good purchase.
-A Last-Minute Checklist –
- What kind of machine do I have and who is the manufacturer?
- Is the pressure accurate when the PAP is turned on? How do I calibrate it?
- Does the ramp feature work?
- Will the heating unit for the water chamber heat up?
- Can I get new humidifier chamber?
- Is the filter changeable or replaceable?
- Will it run on 110 to 240 volts?
- Does it have sea level adjustment?
- Does it have pressure relief adjustment?
- Can the humidifier be programmed for Celsius or Farenheit or by numbers (indicating high heat when going from one to five, for example)?
- Is there a manual? (if not check out this site)
- Can I replace the power cord and transformer if needed?
- — Be sure to print this post for easy reference or just the checklist.–
Need we say more? Since every buying choice is inherently a personal choice, assure yourself the best research when considering used CPAP equipment.
Finally, the right amount of thorough research can make your PAP serve you well for years to come.
Lastly, if buying a used CPAP device isn’t what you’re considering, look at the recent models here for a quick overview.
Call 1.877.430.2727 for help.
Written and Edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT
CPAP Clinic – hеаlthсаrе аt уоur hоmе
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