Why is using a humidifier with your PAP therapy important? PAP therapy provides a constant pressure that blows through your airway and into your lungs. Without the addition of humidity (from a PAP humidifier) this air can be very dry. Dry air is an airway irritant that can cause congestion, coughing, headaches, dry mouth, and nose bleeds. With a proper level of humidity most people can maintain nasal breathing with their PAP therapy. Nasal breathing should eliminate dryness and airway irritation. If mouth breathing occurs while using your CPAP machine and humidifier this may signify that the humidity is not high enough. Please contact our office in regard to adjusting your PAP humidifier.
Why is nasal breathing important? Humans are designed to be natural nose breathers. Breathing through the nose allows the body to take a longer deeper breath. This deeper breath allows more oxygen to get deep into the lungs and enter the blood stream. Also, the nasal passage acts as its own humidifier, warming the air we breath in so it becomes less irritating to the airway and lungs. The hair and mucus in the nasal passage also act as a filtration system to catch dust and potential harmful bacteria and prevent them from enter the lungs (causing irritation/coughing/pneumonia).
Mouth breathing can increase the chance of snoring and cause dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to cavities, gum issues and bad breath. Some people may mouth breath out of habit or because of nasal obstruction (broken nose, deviated septum, allergies, and/or previous nasal surgery).
Is your humidity set correctly? The most common fix for dryness is increasing your humidity or temperature of your heated tubing (if applicable). You may notice that you need an increase in humidity when the seasons change. (Ex. winter is a lot drier where as in summer there is a lot more humidity in the air.)
If you are getting water in your tubing, try increasing the temperature of the heated tubing (if applicable) to reduce rain out. If you don’t have a heated tubing call us to see if your machine is compatible. If your machine is not compatible with a heated tubing, investing in a tubing cover will insulate your tubing and decrease condensation within the tube. You can also try turning down your humidity (especially with the season changes). *Ensure you are allowing tubing to hang dry – check for water that has pooled inside.
It is possible that your machine is not using any water because the climate in your room is already humid. If the air going into your PAP machine already contains humidity it will not be able to pick up more water once it passes over the water chamber. If you are not feeling dry or uncomfortable, then no need to worry.
Using the warm up feature (if applicable) on your PAP device will start the heater plate prior to using your therapy. This will ensure that the humidifier is already warm and ready for use.
It could also be a malfunction with your humidifier. You can test this by letting your machine run and then carefully touching the heater plate to feel for warmth. If your device has the warm up feature you can use this to test the heater plate as well. Also note that most machines will notify you if there is a malfunction with the heater plate. A notice will come up on the screen. If this is the case please contact our office for troubleshooting.
Water Chamber Information
Why do I need to use Distilled water in my water chamber? Distilled water contains no minerals. When the water in your water chamber heats up throughout the night it turns into vapor. If you are using water that contains minerals once the water evaporates a chalky residue will be left behind. This residue creates a place for bacteria to grow. When using distilled water, you eliminate this residue and decrease the chance of bacteria growth.
What will happen if I use tap water? How about for 1 night? Tap water contains several different minerals that will leave a chalky residue in your water chamber. This residue will increase your risk of bacteria growth. These minerals are also abrasive and can cause damage to your CPAP supplies. You can use tap water in your water chamber if needed but be mindful that you should be cleaning your chamber with soap and water or vinegar and water right after use to remove any mineral build up in the chamber.
Can I use tap water if I don’t have distilled water? You may use tap water for a few nights when distilled water is not available. Cleaning must be done with soap and water or vinegar and water after each use. Tap water should not be used long term.
Can I put any essential oils in my Chamber, or on filter? You should never put any essential oils in your water chamber or on your filter. Not only can these oils cause damage to your CPAP and supplies you will be directly breathing them in and may cause irritation in your airway and lungs. A CPAP machine treats sleep apnea by using a considerable amount of air pressure to open your airway. When using therapy, you are not just inhaling steam. The device propels air into your respiratory tract to keep your breathing steady while you sleep. By using any kind of additives like essential oils and/or colloidal silver into your humidifier will cause the device to propel droplets of the oil deep into your lungs, which in even small amounts might cause lung irritation.
Can anything be added to CPAP water? It is not recommended to add anything to your CPAP water. Not only can additives be harmful to your CPAP machine and equipment but can also be harmful to your airway and lungs.
What can I use instead of distilled water? You can use reverse osmosis as it is 90-99% mineral free, however the manufacturer only recommends using distilled water. With reverse osmosis you may get a mineral deposit in your water chamber which will require daily cleaning.
Can I use CPAP without humidity? CPAP can be used without humidity however if you are using your device without water you may experience severe dryness. You may experience congestion, nose bleeds and coughing. If using therapy without water you must ensure that the humidifier and heated tubing are turned off.
What happens if my water chamber runs out of water during the night? If you run out of water at night your machine will continue to function normally. However you will not receive any humidity and may wake up dry.