Do you need distilled water for your CPAP machine?

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If you are using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to treat sleep apnea , you probably have a heated humidifier built into the device. The instructions for these devices describe the use of distilled water in a humidifier. Here, we'll take a closer look at why this is important along with other things to consider.

Brianna Gilmartin / Get Medication Information

Benefits of the CPAP humidifier

CPAP machines are much more comfortable and bearable if you use a heated humidifier. It can relieve dry mouth and nasal congestion. With that said, local weather and personal preferences will determine how often you'll need it. Depending on its manufacturer, you can set the temperature and the humidity level.

Standard tubes can also have a condensation problem inside the tube (sometimes called "spray"), which is more of a problem when the bedroom is cool. With the additional use of a climatic line or heated pipes, the risk of this with increased humidity is small.

By increasing humidity, you reduce dryness, especially in the nose and sinuses, which can reduce the risks of :

  • Infections
  • Nasal congestion
  • Inflammation
  • Nosebleeds

It's probably best to increase the humidity so that you have to refill the water tank every night, or at least every few nights to keep it from drying out.

Can tap water be used with a CPAP humidifier?

The safety and quality of your water can be key factors when deciding to use distilled water in your humidifier.

Boiling water kills germs but does not remove minerals or chemical contaminants. These minerals that make water "hard" include calcium, magnesium, iron, and others; If they are present in the water placed in the humidifier's water chamber, scale builds up over time, discolors the bowl and can damage the machine.

Filtered water can remove some minerals, but it cannot remove living organisms or other chemicals. Bottled water that has been distilled is by far the safest option.

Most manufacturers recommend using distilled water in CPAP humidifiers.

According to the ResMed product website, the use of distilled water will "extend the life of the water bath and reduce mineral deposits. "

The website also indicates that you can use tap water from time to time to clean your equipment . But since the water tank is usually replaced on a regular basis, perhaps every 6 months, extending the life of the product may not be a major issue. The degree of hard mineralization will depend on your water supply.

What water to use when traveling

If you travel to a part of the world where you don't trust the water supply, you should use distilled water in your humidifier. If the water is not safe to drink, it is probably not safe to pour it into a CPAP humidifier. In this case, the use of distilled water will minimize exposure to potentially harmful substances.

For example, the use of tap water in Neti pots in Louisiana has led to several reports of harmful parasitic infections affecting the brain. This condition can be fatal, and treatment may not be effective. However, the same risk has not been demonstrated with the CPAP humidifier .

Where to buy distilled water

Distilled water is available at many grocery stores. It is different from normal bottled or filtered water, so read the labels carefully. If you are traveling abroad, this may be limited to specialty stores, including finding in a hardware store.

Things to avoid

Ultimately, you should be aware that you will be exposing your lungs to water placed in a humidifier, which may cause you to clean it more regularly. In addition, no substances harmful to respiration must be introduced into the reservoir. Avoid getting the following into the CPAP humidifier:

  • Perfumery
  • Colonies
  • Aromatic oils

When cleaning the humidifier, avoid using:

  • Bleach
  • Alcohol
  • Chlorine
  • Ammonia
  • Moisturizing, antibacterial and glycerin-based soaps

These substances can damage your lungs. Also, do not use water softeners and descaler in the tank.

Get the word of drug information

When in doubt about the safety or quality of the water, use caution and use distilled water in a CPAP humidifier . This is especially true if you travel to regions of the world with dangerous water supplies.

Tap water can mineralize your water tank and cause unwanted effects and consequences. If used infrequently, it may not have harmful effects. Also, if you don't have access to clean water, you can try using CPAP without a humidifier.

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, you can make distilled water yourself at home by creating condensation steam. A large saucepan with a lid, a heat source, a bowl and ice cubes are essential accessories for condensation (water vapor) to form.

  • Yes, you can use the CPAP machine without a humidifier and therefore without water. The machine will continue to run and will simply use dry air.

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