Broken CPAP Machine – Your Guide to Troubleshooting and Replacement

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Isn’t is so heartbreaking and frustrating when an appliance you depend upon a lot, breaks down? Imagine having sleep apnea, being on CPAP therapy and one night you realize that your CPAP machine won’t start. What a nightmare would that be! People with sleep apnea undergoing CPAP therapy cannot sleep very well without using their device. The lack of sound sleep affects the other aspects of their lives. They feel sleepy, drowsy, and tired during the day, which makes them inefficient and inattentive at whatever they do.

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If you have a broken CPAP machine, read on to know how to deal with the issue. There is a solution to every problem and so does this one.

Try Bypassing the Humidifier


The humidifier is the most vulnerable part of the CPAP machine. Detach the humidifier from the machine and attach the tube directly to the machine. Try running the machine now. If it works, you know what’s wrong. Just get the humidifier replaced. It would cost you anything between $200 and $400, but that’s way lesser than the cost of the new CPAP machine. Remember, you still need to have your prescription at hand for getting the humidifier replaced.

If the machine still doesn’t work after disengaging the humidifier, there is some other reason it’s not working.

Check the Filters


The filters of the CPAP machine can get clogged over time, which is why you are not getting enough air pressure. Get the filters replaced every one to three months as recommended by the manufacturers. This would certainly solve the issue of insufficient pressure and your CPAP machine will start performing as if it were new.

Check the Tubing


The tubing that connects the mask and the machine is quite flexible. It could get damaged due to the normal wear and tear. If you have pets or kids at home, they can mess with the tubing too. The tubing can possibly develop cracks at one or more places, causing the pressurized air leak, which is why you get an impression that it’s the machine that has been malfunctioning. Replace the old tubing with the new one and then turn the machine on. Most probably, you would be able to get the right pressure after replacing the tubing.

The manufacturers recommend replacing the tubing once every one to three months. Using you CPAP machine every night can cause the tubing to develop mold and bacterial build-up on the inside from the moist, warm air passing through it. It is a health hazard and needs to be taken good care of.

Check the Power Cord

cpap power cord

Sometimes we assume that the CPAP machine is broken because it’s actually the damaged power cord that is not letting any current pass. Obviously, the machine won’t start if it has a faulty or cracked power cord. Take a good look at the power cord and try identifying any breakages in it. Do not forget to unplug the machine from the power supply before inspecting the cord. If there is some problem with it, get it replaced.

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Have the CPAP Prescription at Hand

Most people don’t know that replacing the CPAP machine also needs a prescription. If you still have it with yourself, great. If not, then you will need to arrange for one. You could visit your doctor and explain them your dilemma. They would issue a new prescription for you. However, if your doctor has retired or you have moved to a new city, getting a prescription could be difficult. In that case, you could get a prescription online from a licensed physician. You can use it to get your CPAP machine replaced.

Consider the Warranty Status of Your CPAP Machine

Usually, the top rated cpap machines come with a warranty period that ranges between 2-5 years. If your CPAP machine is still under warranty, the manufacturer would replace it with a new one free of cost.

Take a Look at the Insurance Coverage

A vast majority of the health insurance providers approve of replacing the CPAP machine once in 5 years. If you have been using the same CPAP machine for 5 years and need it replaced with a new one, chances are that you qualify to benefit from your policy. The only thing you have to prove is that your CPAP machine is indeed broken. The only hitch is that it might take a bit longer to get your hands on the new CPAP machine because the folks at the insurance company need to follow procedures and protocols.

Opt for 1-Day or Rush Delivery

Like we mentioned earlier, it could be very difficult for some people to sleep well or sleep at all without their CPAP machine humming next to their bedside. If you are one of those, it would be extremely smart of you to opt for 1-day delivery or rush delivery when you and proceed to checkout and confirm your order. Obviously, you would need to shell out a few extra dollars for it but it’s definitely worth it; much better than having sleepless nights for 4-5 days.

Before you rush to purchase a new CPAP machine, you should troubleshoot the one you already have. Maybe it’s not the machine that has actually broken down. Maybe it’s the accessories that are affecting the efficacy of the machine. Let’s take a look at some things that you can do to detect the real problem.

So there is a bit of troubleshooting that needs to be done before coming to the decision that you CPAP machine is broken. You would save yourself several hundred dollars that you would have blown on buying a new one. If the humidifier, power cord, filters, and tubing are perfectly fine, there is definitely something wrong with the machine. You know what to do next. Take advantage of the warranty if it is still valid. If not, call your insurance company to see if you qualify for a new one.

We suppose you found this article helpful. For more interesting information about CPAP devices, stay tuned.

Joanna Levin, Sleep Medicine Specialist

I graduated from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine a while back. My previous work station was at the HFHS. The institution is better known as the Henry Ford Health System. While there, I served diligently, working as a professional sleep consultant.

  1. i have had a cpac machine for a couple years now it just started making a sirene noise when i put it on and cobtinues all nite as i breath it races uo and down so load u can not sleep
    what is going on with it

  2. My res-med c-pap machine side by side series has been acting up for a few days . This morning it started then it stopped and then started up again and continued that way. Also the pressure set is at 7 last check was 8/12/11. Ramp 0-4.5. The pressure of the air is faster and is hard to breathe. Help do I need an upgrade?

  3. I forgot time to add it is the Elite Epr S-9 series. I have it set at 4.0 and it goes to 10 where the pressure is to much also when it goes out the green light goes out on the stop and start button.

  4. Have new resamed and not power getting though hence not working new only had few weeks

  5. I have had a res med escape 2 model for several yrs that was serviced by Osa, inc in Cincinnati in the past. We moved to Memphis area about 5 yrs ago and I have started having problems with the start/stop button. Trying to find alocal repair shop and called the phone nr for Osi and no response, out of business? Serial nr 20111041856 can I get this machine repaired before it quits? I don’t have sleep dr down here.

  6. My water reservoir gets stuck where it is almost impossible to get it out to clean and refill. I was able to with the help of my husband, but it took both of us squeezing and pulling

  7. cpap makes siren sound when inhalen lasts all night

  8. My machine was working now it doesn’t work at all ?

  9. sme thing happened to my parents machine S9 VPAP, just flashed RESMED no longer work, any one know what needs to be done o fire it back up?

  10. Cpap machine doesn’t read as card

  11. Why do I have water coming into my hose at night. Sometimes
    A small amount will run down my face.

  12. My machine says motor life exceeded. What do I do?

  13. My clap started making this high pitched subtle whining like the motor wheel is struggling. It continues all night and I can’t sleep. Can you help please?

  14. resmed vpaps has code 1019 cleaning this morning may have gotten wet how do i reset

  15. My Resmed Auto Set Vantage s8 will not start. Intermitently goes ON for 1 second then off for 3 seconds when plugged in. Breathing into the mask and tube, will not start it.
    Any suggestions?
    Ramon Varela

  16. My CPAP say incorrect power source. What’s wrong with it

  17. My machine does not put out the same pressure as before . At times I have to remove it and breath through my mouth, The tubing and filter is fine . Before I was restricted from breathing through my mouth when I had the nose Pad in place now I am not restricted from breathing through my mouth when the nose pad is on with air. The air flow stops.

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